Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Bitter Cry of the Children
Author: Spargo, John
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bitter Cry of the Children" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                     THE BITTER CRY OF THE CHILDREN


[Illustration]

[Illustration:

  A TYPICAL SCENE

  The matron of a Day Nursery examining a child’s throat. The two
    “Little Mothers” are typical.
]



                     THE BITTER CRY OF THE CHILDREN


                                   BY

                              JOHN SPARGO

                        WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

                             ROBERT HUNTER

                          AUTHOR OF “POVERTY”

                                New York
                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                     LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.
                                  1906

                         _All rights reserved_



                            COPYRIGHT, 1906,
                       BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

           Set up and electrotyped. Published February, 1906.


                             Norwood Press
                J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
                         Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



                              TO MY FRIEND

                          MRS. WILLIAM SHARMAN

                            _Fide et Amore_

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              INTRODUCTION


I count myself fortunate in having had a hand in bringing this
remarkable and invaluable volume into existence. Quite incidentally in
my book _Poverty_ I made an estimate of the number of underfed children
in New York City. If our experts or our general reading public had been
at all familiar with the subject, my estimate would probably have passed
without comment, and, in any case, it would not have been considered
unreasonable. But the public did not seem to realize that this was
merely another way of stating the volume of distress, and, consequently,
for several days the newspapers throughout the country discussed the
statement and in some instances severely criticised it. One prominent
charitable organization, thinking that my estimate referred to starving
children, undertook, without delay, to provide meals for the children.
In the midst of the excitement Mr. Spargo kindly volunteered to
investigate the facts at first hand. His inquiry was so searching and
impartial and the data he gathered so interesting and valuable that I
urged him to put his material in some permanent form. The following
admirable study of this problem is the result of that suggestion.

I am safe in saying that this book is a truly powerful one, destined, I
believe, to become a mighty factor in awakening all classes of our
people to the necessity of undertaking measures to remedy the conditions
which exist. The appeal of adults in poverty is an old appeal, so old
indeed that we have become in a measure hardened to its pathos and
insensitive to its tragedy. But this book represents the cry of the
child in distress, and it will touch every human heart and even arouse
to action the stolid and apathetic. The originality of the book lies in
the mass of proof which the author brings before the reader showing that
it is not alone, as most of our charitable experts believe, the misery
of the neglected or the actively maltreated child that should receive
attention. Even more important is the misery of that one whose whole
future is darkened and perhaps blasted by reason of the fact that during
his early years of helplessness he has not received those elements of
nutritious food which are necessary to a wholesome physical life.

Few of us sufficiently realize the powerful effect upon life of adequate
nutritious food. Few of us ever think of how much it is responsible for
our physical and mental advancement or what a force it has been in
forwarding our civilized life. Mr. Spargo does not attempt in this book
to make us realize how much the more favored classes owe to the fact
that they have been able to obtain proper nutrition. His effort here is
to show the fearful devastating effect upon a certain portion of our
population of an inadequate and improper food supply. He shows the
relation of the lack of food to poverty. The child of poverty is brought
before us. His weaknesses, his mental and physical inferiority, his
failure, his sickness, his death, are shown in their relation to
improper and inadequate food. He first proves to our satisfaction that
this child of misery is born into the world with powerful
potentialities, and he then shows, with tragic power, how the lack of
proper food during infancy makes it inevitable that this child become,
if he lives at all, an incompetent, physical weakling. It is perhaps
unnecessary to point out that the problem of poverty is largely summed
up in the fate of this child, and when the author deals with this
subject he is in reality treating of poverty in the germ.

There have been many books written about the children of the poor, but,
in my opinion, none of them give us so impressive a statement as is
contained here of the most important and powerful cause of poverty.
Among many reasons which may be found for the existence of distress, the
author has taken one which seems to be more fundamental than the others.
But, while this is true, there is no dogmatic treatment of the problem,
for the author realizes that the causes of poverty in this country of
abundance are numerous. Indeed, wherever one looks, one may see
conditions which are fertile in producing it. Students of the poor find
some of these causes in the conditions surrounding the poor. Students of
finance and of modern industry find causes of poverty in the methods and
constitution of this portion of our society. The causes, therefore, of
poverty cannot be gone into fully in any partial study of modern
society. It is even maintained, and not without reason, that if all men
were sober, competent, and industrious, there would be no less poverty
in the world. But however that may be, one thing is certain, and that is
that as the race as a whole could not have advanced beyond savagery
without a fortuitous provision of material necessities, so it is not
possible for the children of the poor to overcome their poverty until
they are assured in their childhood of the physical necessities of life.
We should have no civilization to-day, our entire race would still be a
wild horde of brutalized savages, but for the meat and milk diet or the
grain diet assured to our earliest forefathers. And it should not be
forgotten that as this is true of the life of the race, so is it true of
that portion of our community which lives in poverty unable to procure
proper food to give its children. This is the great fundamental fact
which lies at the base of the problem of poverty and which is the theme
of this book. It is a fact which should be best known to the men and
women who work in the field of our philanthropies, and yet it must be
said that it is a fact which has heretofore been almost entirely ignored
by this class of workers.

For this reason I welcome this volume. I am convinced that it will mark
the beginning of an epoch of deeper study and of sounder philanthropy. I
look to see in the near future some effort made to establish a standard
of physical well-being for the children. I expect to see the community
insisting that some provision shall be made whereby every child born
into the world will receive sufficient food to enable him to possess
enough vitality to overcome unnecessary and preventable disease and to
grow into a manhood physically capable of satisfactorily competing in
industrial or intellectual pursuits. I do not believe that this is a
dream impossible of realization. About a hundred years ago our
forefathers decided that there should be a universal standard of
literacy. To bring this about the following generations of men
established a free school system which was meant to assure to every
child a certain minimum of education. If that can be done for the mind,
the other thing can be done for the body. And when it is done for the
body, we shall make another striking advance in civilization not unlike
that recorded in the history of mankind when the free people of this
American continent established a system of free and universal education.

If such a momentous thing should follow the publication of this book,
and similar studies which will without doubt subsequently be made, its
publication would indeed mark an epoch. But, of course, it must be said
that before any far-reaching result can come, the general public must be
acquainted with the conditions which exist. It is for this reason that I
hope Mr. Spargo’s book will be read by hundreds of thousands of people,
and that it will awaken in them a determination to respond wisely and
justly to the bitter cry of the children of the poor.

                                                          ROBERT HUNTER.



                                PREFACE


The purpose of this volume is to state the problem of poverty as it
affects childhood. Years of careful study and investigation have
convinced me that the evils inflicted upon children by poverty are
responsible for many of the worst features of that hideous
phantasmagoria of hunger, disease, vice, crime, and despair which we
call the Social Problem. I have tried to visualize some of the principal
phases of the problem—the measure in which poverty is responsible for
the excessive infantile disease and mortality; the tragedy and folly of
attempting to educate the hungry, ill-fed school child; the terrible
burdens borne by the working child in our modern industrial system.

In the main the book is frankly based upon personal experience and
observation. It is essentially a record of what I have myself felt and
seen. But I have freely availed myself of the experience and writings of
others, as reference to the book itself will show. I have tried to be
impartial and unbiassed in my researches, and have not “winnowed the
facts till only the pleasing ones remained.” At times, indeed, I have
found it necessary, while writing this book, to abandon ideas which I
had held and promulgated for years. That is an experience not uncommon
to those who submit opinions formed as a result of general observation
to strict scientific scrutiny. I had long believed and had promulgated
the opinion that the great mass of the children of the poor were
blighted before they were born. The evidence given before the British
Interdepartmental Committee, by recognized leaders of the medical
profession in England, pointed to a fundamentally different view.
According to that evidence, the number of children born healthy and
strong is not greater among the well-to-do classes than among the very
poorest. The testimony seemed so conclusive, and the corroboration
received from many obstetrical experts in this country was so general,
that I was forced to abandon as untenable the theory of antenatal
degeneration.

In view of the foregoing, I need hardly say that I do not claim any
originality for the view that Nature starts all her children, rich and
poor, physically equal, and that each generation gets practically a
fresh start, unhampered by the diseased and degenerate past.[A] The
tremendous sociological significance of this truth—if truth it be—will,
I think, be generally recognized. Readers of Ruskin’s _Fors Clavigera_
will remember the story of the dressmaker with a broken thigh, who was
told by the doctors in St. Thomas’s Hospital, London, that her bones
were in all probability brittle because her _mother’s grandfather_ had
been employed in the manufacture of sulphur. If this theory of antenatal
degeneration is wrong, and we have not to reckon with grandfathers and
great-grandfathers, the solution of the problem of arresting and
repairing the deterioration of the race is made so much easier. It may
be thought by some readers that I have accepted the brighter, more
hopeful view too readily, and with too much confidence. I can only say
that I have read all the available evidence upon the other side, and
found myself at last obliged to accept the brighter view. I cannot but
feel that the actual experience of obstetricians dealing with thousands
of natural human births every year is far more valuable and conclusive
than any number of artificial experiments upon guinea pigs, mice, or
other animals.

The part of the book devoted to the discussion of remedial measures will
probably attract more criticism than any other. I expect, and am
prepared for, criticism from those, on the one hand, who will accuse me
of being too radical and revolutionary, and, on the other hand, those
who will say I have ignored almost all radical measures. I have
purposely refrained from considering any of the far-reaching
speculations of the “schools,” and confined myself entirely to those
measures which have been tried in various places with sufficient success
to warrant their general adoption, and which do not involve any
revolutionary change in our social system. I have tried, in other words,
to formulate a programme of practical measures, all of which have been
subjected to the test of experience.

A word of personal explanation may not be out of place here. I have been
privileged to know something of the leisure and luxury of wealth, and
more of the toil and hardship of poverty. When I write of hunger I write
of what I have experienced—not the enviable hunger of health, but the
sickening hunger of destitution. So, too, when I write of child labor. I
_know_ that nothing I have written of the toil of little boys and girls,
terrible as it may seem to some readers, approaches the real truth in
its horror. I have not tried to write a sensational book, but to present
a careful and candid statement of facts which seem to me to be of vital
social significance.

As far as possible, I have freely acknowledged my indebtedness to other
writers, either in the text or in the list of authorities at the end of
the book. It was, however, impossible thus to acknowledge all the help
received from so many willing friends in this and other countries.
Hundreds of school principals and teachers, physicians, nurses,
settlement workers, public officials, and others, in this country and in
Europe, have aided me. It is impossible to name them all, and I can only
hope that they will find themselves rewarded, in a measure, by the work
to which they have contributed so much.

I take this opportunity, however, of expressing my sincere thanks to Mr.
Robert Hunter; to Mr. Owen R. Lovejoy, of the National Child Labor
Committee; to Dr. George W. Goler, of Rochester, N.Y.; to Dr. S. E.
Getty, of St. John’s Riverside Hospital, Yonkers, N.Y.; to Dr. Louis
Lichtschein, of New York City; to Dr. George W. Galvin, of Boston,
Mass.; and to Professor G. Stanley Hall, of Clark University, for many
valuable suggestions and criticisms. To Mr. Fernando Linderberg, of
Copenhagen; to his Excellency, Baron Mayor des Planches, the Italian
Ambassador at Washington; and to Professor Emile Vinck, of Brussels, I
am indebted for assistance in securing valuable reports which would
otherwise have been inaccessible. I am also indebted to my colleague,
Miss C. E. A. Carman, of Prospect House; and especially to Mr. W. J.
Ghent for his expert assistance in preparing the book for the press.
Finally, I am indebted to my wife, whose practical knowledge of factory
conditions, especially as they relate to women and children, has been of
immense service to me.

                                                                   J. S.

 PROSPECT HOUSE, YONKERS, N.Y.
         December, 1905.

-----

Footnote A:

  For the necessary qualifications of this broad generalization see the
  illustrative material in Appendix C, I.



                                CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

 INTRODUCTION                                                        vii

 PREFACE                                                            xiii

   I. THE BLIGHTING OF THE BABIES                                      1

  II. THE SCHOOL CHILD                                                57

 III. THE WORKING CHILD                                              125

  IV. REMEDIAL MEASURES                                              218

   V. BLOSSOMS AND BABIES                                            263


 APPENDICES:

      A. How Foreign Municipalities Feed their School
        Children                                                     271

      B. Report on the Vercelli System of School Meals               288

      C. Miscellaneous                                               291

 NOTES AND AUTHORITIES                                               307

 INDEX                                                               325



                             ILLUSTRATIONS


   1. A Typical Scene                                     _Frontispiece_

                                                             FACING PAGE

   2. Three “Little Mothers” and their Charges                         1

   3. Group of “Lung Block” Children                                   5

   4. Rachitic Types                                                  12

   5. Babies whose Mothers Work                                       16

   6. Police Station used as a “Clean Milk” Depot                     35

   7. Babies of a New York Day Nursery                                39

   8. Group of Children whose Mothers are employed away
        from their Homes                                              42

   9. A Sample Report (_facsimile letter_)                            46

  10. Babies whose Mothers work cared for in a _Crèche_               53

  11. A “Lung Block” Child in a Tragically Suggestive
        Position                                                      60

  12. A Typical “Little Mother”                                       72

  13. A Cosmopolitan Group of “Fresh Air Fund” Children               94

  14. “Fresh Air Fund” Children enjoying Life in the
        Country                                                      117

  15. Communal School Kitchen, Christiania, Norway                   124

  16. New York Cellar Prisoners                                      133

  17. Little Tenement Toilers                                        140

  18. Juvenile Textile Workers on Strike                             147

  19. Night Shift in a Glass Factory                                 158

  20. Breaker Boys at Work                                           165

  21. Home “Finishers”: A Consumptive Mother and her Two
        Children at Work                                             172

  22. Silk Mill Girls after Two Years of Factory Life                184

  23. A “Kindergarten” Tobacco Factory in Philadelphia               197

  24. A Glass Factory by Night                                       204

  25. A Free Infants’ Milk Depot (Municipal), Brussels               225

  26. A Group of Working Mothers                                     231

  27. A “Clean Milk” Distribution Centre in a Baker’s
        Shop                                                         234

  28. Packing Bottles of “Clean Milk” in Ice                         240

  29. “A Makeshift”: Hammocks swung between the Cots in
        an Overcrowded Day Nursery                                   245

  30. Interior of the Communal School Kitchen,
        Christiania                                                  252

  31. Weighing Babies at the _Gota de Leche_, Madrid                 257

  32. Five o’Clock Tea in the Country                                261

  33. A Little Fisherman                                             268

NOTE.—I am indebted to Miss Marjory Hall of New York for the pictures of
day nurseries and _crèches_; to Dr. G. W. Goler of Rochester, N.Y., for
permission to use several illustrations of his work; to the Rev. Peter
Roberts for the excellent illustration, “Breaker Boys at Work”; and to
the Pennsylvania Child Labor Committee for several other illustrations
of working children.—J. S.



                LIST OF STATISTICAL TABLES AND DIAGRAMS


                                                                   PAGES

   1. Diagram showing Relative Death-rates per 100,000
        Persons in Different Classes                                   6

   2. Table showing Number of Deaths in United States and
        England and Wales, at Different Ages                          12

   3. Table showing Infantile Mortality from Eleven Given
        Causes and the Estimated Influence of Poverty
        thereon                                                       21

   4. Diagram showing the Infantile Death-rate of
        Rochester, N.Y., and the Influence thereon of a
        Pure Milk Supply                                              22

   5. Schedule relating to Five Families in which the
        Mothers are employed away from their Homes                 40–41

   6. Schedule showing Dietary of Children in Six
        Families                                                      93

   7. Table showing Comparative Height, Weight, and Chest
        Girth of English Boys according to Social Class               97

   8. Occupations of Juvenile Delinquents in Six Large
        Cities                                                       188

   9. Occupations of Juvenile Delinquents in Six Towns of
        less than 100,000 Inhabitants                                189

  10. Table showing Reasons for the Employment of 213
        Children                                                212, 213

[Illustration:

  THREE “LITTLE MOTHERS” AND THEIR CHARGES
]



                     THE BITTER CRY OF THE CHILDREN



                                   I
                      THE BLIGHTING OF THE BABIES

              “Oh, room for the lamb in the meadow,
                And room for the bird on the tree!
              But here, in stern poverty’s shadow,
                No room, hapless baby! for thee.”
                                            —E. M. MILNE.


                                   I

The burden and blight of poverty fall most heavily upon the child. No
more responsible for its poverty than for its birth, the helplessness
and innocence of the victim add infinite horror to its suffering, for
the centuries have not made tolerable the idea that the weakness or
wrongdoing of its parents or others should be expiated by the suffering
of the child. Poverty, the poverty of civilized man, which is everywhere
coexistent with unbounded wealth and luxury, is always ugly, repellent,
and terrible either to see or to experience; but when it assails the
cradle it assumes its most hideous form. Underfed, or badly fed,
neglected, badly housed, and improperly clad, the child of poverty is
terribly handicapped at the very start; it has not an even chance to
begin life with. While still in its cradle a yoke is laid upon its after
years, and it is doomed either to die in infancy, or, worse still, to
live and grow up puny, weak, both in body and in mind, inefficient and
unfitted for the battle of life. And it is the consciousness of this,
the knowledge that poverty in childhood blights the whole of life, which
makes it the most appalling of all the phases of the poverty problem.

Biologically, the first years of life are supremely important. They are
the foundation years; and just as the stability of a building must
depend largely upon the skill and care with which its foundations are
laid, so life and character depend in large measure upon the years of
childhood and the care bestowed upon them. For millions of children the
whole of life is conditioned by the first few years. The period of
infancy is a time of extreme plasticity. Proper care and nutrition at
this period of life are of vital importance, for the evils arising from
neglect, insufficient food, or food that is unsuitable, can never be
wholly remedied. “The problem of the child is the problem of the
race,”[1] and more and more emphatically science declares that almost
all the problems of physical, mental, and moral degeneracy originate
with the child. The physician traces the weakness and disease of the
adult to defective nutrition in early childhood; the penologist traces
moral perversion to the same cause; the pedagogue finds the same
explanation for his failures. Thanks to the many notable investigations
made in recent years, especially in European countries, sociological
science is being revolutionized. Hitherto we have not studied the great
and pressing problems of pauperism and criminology from the child-end;
we have concerned ourselves almost entirely with results while ignoring
causes. The new spirit aims at prevention.

To the child as to the adult the principal evils of poverty are material
ones,—lack of nourishing food, of suitable clothing, and of healthy home
surroundings. These are the fundamental evils from which all others
arise. The younger children are spared the anxiety, shame, and despair
felt by their parents and by their older brothers and sisters, but they
suffer terribly from neglect when, as so often happens, their mothers
are forced to abandon the most important functions of motherhood to
become wage-earners. The cry of a child for food which its mother is
powerless to give it is the most awful cry the ages have known. Even the
sound of battle, the mingled shrieks of wounded man and beast, and the
roar of guns, cannot vie with it in horror. Yet that cry goes up
incessantly: in the world’s richest cities the child’s hunger-cry rises
above the din of the mart. Fortunate indeed is the child whose lips have
never uttered that cry, who has never gone breakfastless to play or
supperless to bed. For periods of destitution come sooner or later to a
majority of the proletarian class. Practically all the unskilled
laborers and hundreds of thousands engaged in the skilled trades are so
entirely dependent upon their weekly wages, that a month’s sickness or
unemployment brings them to hunger and temporary dependence. Not long
ago, in the course of an address before the members of a labor union, I
asked all those present who had ever had to go hungry, or to see their
children hungry, as a result of sickness, accident, or unemployment to
raise their hands. No less than one hundred and eighty-four hands were
raised out of a total attendance of two hundred and nineteen present,
yet these were all skilled workers protected in a measure by their
organization.

[Illustration:

  A GROUP OF “LUNG BLOCK” CHILDREN

  The white symbol of a child’s death hangs on a door in the background.
]

It is not, however, the occasional hunger, the loss of a few meals now
and then in such periods of distress, that is of most importance; it is
the chronic underfeeding day after day, month after month, year after
year. Even where lack of all food is rarely or never experienced, there
is often chronic underfeeding. There may be food sufficient as to
quantity, but qualitatively poor and almost wholly lacking in nutritive
value, and such is the tragic fate of those dependent upon it that they
do not even know that they are underfed in the most literal sense of the
word. They live and struggle and go down to their graves without
realizing the fact of their disinheritance. A plant uprooted and left
lying upon the ground withers quickly and dies; planted in dry,
lifeless, arid soil it would wither and die, too, less quickly perhaps
but as surely. It dies when there is no soil about its roots and it dies
when there is soil in abundance, but no nourishing qualities in the
soil. As the plant is, so is the life of a child; where there is no
food, starvation is swift, mercifully swift, and complete; when there is
only poor food lacking in nutritive qualities starvation is partial,
slower, and less merciful. The thousands of rickety infants to be seen
in all our large cities and towns, the anæmic, languid-looking children
one sees everywhere in working-class districts, and the striking
contrast presented by the appearance of the children of the well-to-do
bear eloquent witness to the widespread prevalence of underfeeding.

Poverty and Death are grim companions. Wherever there is much poverty
the death-rate is high and rises higher with every rise of the tide of
want and misery. In London, Bethnal Green’s death-rate is nearly double
that of Belgravia;[2] in Paris, the poverty-stricken district of
Ménilmontant has a death-rate twice as high as that of the Elysée;[3] in
Chicago, the death-rate varies from about twelve per thousand in the
wards where the well-to-do reside to thirty-seven per thousand in the
tenement wards.[4] The ill-developed bodies of the poor, underfed and
overburdened with toil, have not the powers of resistance to disease
possessed by the bodies of the more fortunate. As fire rages most
fiercely and with greatest devastation among the ill-built, crowded
tenements, so do the fierce flames of disease consume most readily the
ill-built, fragile bodies which the tenements shelter. As we ascend the
social scale the span of life lengthens and the death-rate gradually
diminishes, the death-rate of the poorest class of workers being three
and a half times as great as that of the well-to-do. It is estimated
that among 10,000,000 persons of the latter class the annual deaths do
not number more than 100,000, among the best paid of the working-class
the number is not less than 150,000, while among the poorest workers the
number is at least 350,000.[5] The following diagram illustrates these
figures clearly and needs no further comment:—

[Illustration:

  DIAGRAM

  SHOWING RELATIVE DEATH-RATES PER 100,000 PERSONS IN DIFFERENT CLASSES.
]

This difference in the death-rates of the various social classes is even
more strongly marked in the case of infants. Mortality in the first year
of life differs enormously according to the circumstances of the parents
and the amount of intelligent care bestowed upon the infants. In
Boston’s “Back Bay” district the death-rate at all ages last year was
13.45 per thousand as compared with 18.45 in the Thirteenth Ward, which
is a typical working-class district, and of the total number of deaths
the percentage under one year was 9.44 in the former as against 25.21 in
the latter. Wolf, in his classic studies based upon the vital statistics
of Erfurt for a period of twenty years, found that for every 1000
children born in working-class families 505 died in the first year;
among the middle classes 173, and among the higher classes only 89. Of
every 1000 illegitimate children registered—almost entirely of the
poorer classes—352 died before the end of the first year.[6] Dr. Charles
R. Drysdale, Senior Physician of the Metropolitan Free Hospital, London,
declared some years ago that the death-rate of infants among the rich
was not more than 8 per cent, while among the very poor it was often as
high as 40 per cent.[7] Dr. Playfair says that 18 per cent of the
children of the upper classes, 36 per cent of the tradesman class, and
55 per cent of those of the working-class die under the age of five
years.[8]

And yet the experts say that the baby of the tenement is born physically
equal to the baby of the mansion.[9] For countless years men have sung
of the Democracy of Death, but it is only recently that science has
brought us the more inspiring message of the Democracy of Birth. It is
not only in the tomb that we are equal, where there is neither rich nor
poor, bond nor free, but also in the womb of our mothers. At birth class
distinctions are unknown. For long the hope-crushing thought of prenatal
hunger, the thought that the mother’s hunger was shared by the unborn
child, and that poverty began its blighting work on the child even
before its birth, held us in its thrall. The thought that past
generations have innocently conspired against the well-being of the
child of to-day, and that this generation in its turn conspires against
the child of the future, is surcharged with the pessimism which mocks
every ideal and stifles every hope born in the soul. Nothing more
horrible ever cast its shadow over the hearts of those who would labor
for the world’s redemption from poverty than this spectre of prenatal
privation and inherited debility. But science comes to dispel the gloom
and bid us hope. Over and over again it was stated before the
Interdepartmental Committee by the leading obstetrical authorities of
the English medical profession that the proportion of children born
healthy and strong is not greater among the rich than among the
poor.[10] The differences appear after birth. Wise, patient Mother
Nature provides with each succeeding generation opportunity to overcome
the evils of ages of ignorance and wrong, with each generation the world
starts afresh and unhampered, physically, at least, by the dead past.

                  “The world’s great age begins anew,
                    The golden years return.”

And herein lies the greatest hope of the race; we are not handicapped
from the start; we can begin with the child of to-day to make certain a
brighter and nobler to-morrow as though there had never been a yesterday
of woe and wrong.[B]


                                   II

In England the high infantile mortality has occasioned much alarm and
called forth much agitation. There is a world of pathos and rebuke in
the grim truth that the knowledge that it is becoming increasingly
difficult to get suitable recruits for the army and navy has stirred the
nation in a way that the fate of the children themselves and their
inability to become good and useful citizens could not do.[11] Alarmed
by the decline of its industrial and commercial supremacy, and the
physical inferiority of its soldiers so manifest in the South African
war, a most rigorous investigation of the causes of physical
deterioration has been made, with the result that on all sides it is
agreed that poverty in childhood is the main cause. Greater attention
than ever before has been directed to the excessive mortality of infants
and young children. Of a total of 587,830 deaths in England and Wales in
1900 no less than 142,912, or more than 24 per cent of the whole, were
infants under one year, and 35.76 per cent were under five years of age.
That this death-rate is excessive and that the excess is due to
essentially preventable causes is admitted, many of the leading medical
authorities contending that under proper social conditions it might be
reduced by at least one-half. If that be true, and there is no good
reason for doubting it, the present death-rate means that more than
70,000 little baby lives are needlessly sacrificed each year.

No figures can adequately represent the meaning of this phase of the
problem which has been so picturesquely named “race suicide.” Only by
gathering them all into one vast throng would it be possible to conceive
vividly the immensity of this annual slaughter of the babies of a
Christian land. If some awful great child plague came and swept away
every child under a year old in the states of Massachusetts, Idaho, and
New Mexico, not a babe escaping, the loss would be less than those that
are believed to be needlessly lost each year in England and Wales. Or,
to put it in another form, the total number of these infants believed to
have died from causes essentially preventable in the year 1900 was
greater than the total number of infants of the same age living in the
following six states,—Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, Florida, Colorado,
and Idaho. Even if the estimate of the sacrifice be regarded as being
excessive, and we reduce it by half, it still remains an awful sum.

Unfortunately, there is no reason to suppose that the infantile
death-rate in the United States is nearly so far below that of England
as is generally supposed. The general death-rate is given in the census
returns as 16.3 per thousand, or about two per thousand less than in
England. But owing to a variety of causes, chief of which is the
defective system of registration in several states, these figures are
not very reliable, and it is generally agreed that the mortality for the
whole country cannot be less than for the “Registration Area,” 17.8 per
thousand. Similarly, the difference in the infantile death-rate of the
two countries is much less than the following crude figures contained in
the census reports appear at first to indicate:—

  ═════════════════════════════════╤═════════════════════════════════
            UNITED STATES          │        ENGLAND AND WALES
  ─────────────────────────────────┼─────────────────────────────────
  Deaths at all ages,     1,039,094│Deaths at all ages,       587,830
  Deaths under 1 year,      199,325│Deaths under 1 year,      142,912
  Deaths under 5 years,     317,532│Deaths under 5 years,     209,960
  ═════════════════════════════════╧═════════════════════════════════

In the English returns the death of every child having had a separate
existence is counted, even though it lived only a few seconds, but in
this country there is no uniform rule in this respect. In Chicago, for
instance, “no account is taken of deaths occurring within twenty-four
hours after birth,”[12] and in Philadelphia a similar custom prevailed
until 1904.[13] Such facts seriously vitiate comparisons of the
infantile death-rates of the two countries which are based upon the
crude statistics of census returns.

But while the difference is much less than the figures given would
indicate, it is still safe to assume that the infantile death-rate is
lower in this country than in England. Such a condition might reasonably
be expected for numerous reasons. We have a larger rural population with
a higher economic status; new virile blood is being constantly infused
by the immigration of the strongest and most aggressive elements of the
population of other lands; our people, especially our women, are more
temperate. All these factors would tend naturally to a lower death-rate
at all ages, but especially of infants.

[Illustration:

  Danny’s Best Smile
]

[Illustration:

  Rickety, Ill fed, and Neglected
]

                             RACHITIC TYPES

That with all these favorable conditions our infantile mortality should
so nearly approximate that of England, that of every thousand deaths
307.8 should be of children under five years of age—according to the
crude figures of the census, more if a correct registration upon the
same basis as the English figures could be had—is a matter of grave
national concern. If we make an arbitrary allowance of 20 per cent, to
account for the slight improvement shown by the death-rates and for
other differences, and regard 30 per cent of the infantile death-rate as
being due to socially preventable causes, instead of 50 per cent, as in
the case of England, we have an appalling total of more than 95,000
unnecessary deaths in a single year.

And of these “socially preventable” causes there can be no doubt that
the various phases of poverty represent fully 85 per cent, giving an
annual sacrifice to poverty of practically 80,000 baby lives. If some
modern Herod had caused the death of every male child under twelve
months of age in the state of New York in the year 1900, not a single
child escaping, the number thus brutally slaughtered would have been
practically identical with this sacrifice. Poverty is the Herod of
modern civilization, and Justice the warning angel calling upon society
to “arise and take the young child” out of the reach of the monster’s
wrath.


                                  III

If our vital statistics were specially designed to that end, they could
not hide the relation of poverty to disease and death more effectually
than they do now. It is impossible to tell from any of the elaborate
tables compiled by the census authorities what proportion of the total
number of infant deaths were due to defective nutrition or other
conditions primarily associated with poverty. No one who has studied the
question doubts that the proportion is very great, but it is impossible
to present the matter statistically, except in the form of a crude
estimate. There is much of value in our great collections of statistics,
but the most vital facts of all are rarely included in them.

In the great dispensary a little girl of tender years stands holding up
a baby not yet able to walk. She is a “little mother,” that most
pathetic of all poverty’s victims, her childhood taken away and the
burden of womanly cares thrust upon her. “Please, doctor, do somethin’
fer baby!” she pleads. Baby is sick unto death, but she does not realize
it. Its breath comes in short, wheezy gasps; its skin burns, and its
little eyes glow with the brightness that doctors and nurses dread. One
glance is all the doctor needs; in that brief glance he sees the
ill-shaped head and the bent and twisted legs that tell of rickets.
Helpless, with the pathetically perfunctory manner long grown familiar
to him he gives the child some soothing medicine for her tiny charge’s
bronchial trouble and enters another case of “bronchitis” upon the
register. “And if it wasn’t bronchitis, ’twould be something else, and
death soon, anyhow,” he says. Death does come soon, the white symbol of
its presence hangs upon the street door of the crowded tenement, and to
the long death-roll of the nation another victim of bronchitis is
added—one of the eleven thousand so registered under five years of age.
The record gives no hint that back of the bronchitis was rickets and
back of the rickets poverty and hunger. But the doctor knows—he knows
that little Tad’s case is typical of thousands who are statistically
recorded as dying from bronchitis or some other specific disease when
the real cause, the inducing cause of the disease, is malnutrition. Even
as the Great White Plague recruits its victims from the haunts of
poverty, so bronchitis preys there and gathers most of its victims from
the ranks of the children whose lives are spent either in the foul and
stuffy atmosphere of overcrowded and ill-ventilated homes, or on the
streets, underfed, imperfectly clad, and exposed to all sorts of
weather.

For nearly half a century rachitis, or “rickets,” has been known as the
disease of the children of the poor. It has been so called ever since
Sir William Jenner noticed that after the first two births, the children
of the poor began to get rickety, and careful investigation showed that
the cause was poverty, the mothers being generally too poor to get
proper nourishment while nursing them.[14] It is perhaps the commonest
disease from which children of the working-classes suffer. A large
proportion of the children in the public schools and on the streets of
the poorest quarters of our cities, and a majority of those treated at
the dispensaries or admitted into the children’s hospitals, are
unmistakably victims of this disease. One sees them everywhere in the
poor neighborhoods. The misshapen heads and the legs bent and twisted
awry are unmistakable signs, and the scanty clothing covers pitiful
little “pigeon-breasts.” The small chests are narrowed and flattened
from side to side, and the breast-bones are forced unnaturally forward
and outward. Tens of thousands of children suffer from this disease,
which is due almost wholly to poor and inadequate food. Here again
statistical records hide and imprison the soul of truth, failing to
yield the faintest idea of the ravages of this disease. The number of
deaths credited to it in 1900 was only 351 for the whole of the United
States, whereas 10,000 would not have been too high a figure.

[Illustration:

  BABIES WHOSE MOTHERS WORK—THEY ARE CARED FOR IN A DAY NURSERY
]

Seldom, if ever, fatal by itself, rickets is indirectly responsible for
a tremendous quota of the infantile death-rate.[15] In epidemics of such
infectious diseases as measles, whooping-cough, and others, the rickety
child falls an easy victim. In these diseases, as well as in bronchitis,
pneumonia, convulsions, diarrhœa, and many other disorders, the
mortality is far higher among rickety children than among others. Nor do
the evils of rachitis cease with childhood, but in later life they are
unquestionably important and severe. There is no escape for the victim
even though the storms of childhood be successfully weathered, but like
some cruel, relentless Nemesis the consequences pursue the adult. The
weakening of the constitution in infancy through poverty and
underfeeding cannot be remedied, and epilepsy and tuberculosis find easy
prey among those whose childhood had laid upon it the curse of poverty
in the form of rickets.

An epidemic of measles spreads over the great city. Silently and
mysteriously it enters and, unseen, touches a single child in the street
or the school, and the result is as the touch of the blazing torch to
dry stubble and straw; only it is not stubble but the nation’s heart,
its future citizenry, that is attacked. From child to child, home to
home, street to street, the epidemic spreads; mansion and tenement are
alike stricken, and the city is engaged in a fierce battle against the
foe which assails its children. In the tenement districts doctors and
nurses hurry through the sun-scorched streets and wearily climb the long
flights of stairs hour after hour, day after day; in the districts where
the rich live, doctors drive in their carriages to the mansions, and
nurses tread noiselessly in and out of the sick rooms. Rich and poor
alike struggle against the foe, but it is only in the homes of the poor
that there is no hope in the struggle; only there that the doctors can
say no comforting words of assurance. When the battle is over and the
victims are numbered, there is rejoicing in the mansion and bitter,
poignant sorrow in the tenement. For poor children are practically the
only ones ever to die from measles. Nature starts all her children
equally, rich and poor, but the evil conditions of poverty create and
foster vast inequalities of opportunity to live and flourish.

Dr. Henry Ashby, an eminent authority upon children’s diseases, says:
“_In healthy children among the well-to-do class the mortality_ (from
measles) _is practically nil, in the tubercular and wasted children to
be found in workhouses, hospitals, and among the lower classes, the
mortality is enormous, no disease more certainly being attended with a
fatal result_. William Squires places it in crowded wards at 20 to 30
per cent of those attacked. Among dispensary patients the mortality
generally amounts to 9 or 10 per cent. In our own dispensary, during the
six years, 1880–1885, 1395 cases were treated with 128 deaths, making a
mortality of 9 per cent. Of the fatal cases 73 per cent were under two
years of age and 9 per cent under six months of age.”[16]

These are terrible words coming as they do from a great physician and
teacher of physicians. Upon any less authority one would scarcely dare
quote them, so terrible are they. They mean that practically the whole
8645 infant deaths recorded from measles in the United States in the
year 1900 were due to poverty—to the measureless inequality of
opportunity to live and grow which human ignorance and greed have made.
Moreover, the full significance of this impressive statement will not be
realized if we think only of its relation to one disease. The same might
be said of many other diseases of childhood which blight and destroy the
lives of babies as mercilessly as the sharp frosts blight and kill the
first tender blossoms of spring. The same writer says: “It may be taken
for granted that no healthy infants suffer from convulsions; those who
do are either rickety or the children of neurotic parents.”[17] And
there were no less than 14,288 infant deaths from convulsions in the
United States in the census year. It would probably be a considerable
underestimate to regard 10,000 of these deaths, or 70 per cent of the
whole, as due to poverty.

It is not my intention to attempt the impossible task of sifting the
death returns so as to measure the sum of infantile mortality due to
poverty. These figures and the table which follows are not introduced
for that purpose; I have taken only a few of the diseases more
conspicuously associated with defective nutrition and other conditions
comprehended by the term poverty, and, supported by a strong body of
medical testimony, made certain more or less arbitrary allowances for
poverty’s influence upon the sum of mortality from each cause. Some of
the estimates may perhaps be criticised as being too high,—no man
knows,—but I am convinced that upon the whole the table is a
conservative one. No competent judge will dispute the statement that
some of the estimates are very low, and when it is remembered that only
a few of the many causes of infantile mortality are included and that
there are many others not enumerated in which poverty plays an important
part, I think it can safely be said that in this country, the richest
and greatest country in the world’s history, poverty is responsible for
at least 80,000 infant lives every year—more than two hundred every day
in the year, more than eight lives each hour, day by day, night by night
throughout the year. It is impossible for us to realize fully the
immensity of this annual sacrifice of baby lives. Think what it means in
five years—in a decade—in a quarter of a century.

   TABLE SHOWING INFANTILE MORTALITY FROM ELEVEN GIVEN CAUSES AND THE
                 ESTIMATED INFLUENCE OF POVERTY THEREON

 ════════════════════╤══════════════╤══════════════╤═══════════════════
       DISEASE       │NO. OF DEATHS │EST. PER CENT │EST. NO. OF DEATHS
                     │  UNDER FIVE  │  DUE TO BAD  │    DUE TO BAD
                     │    YEARS     │  CONDITIONS  │CONDITIONS—POVERTY
 ────────────────────┼──────────────┼──────────────┼───────────────────
 Measles             │         8,465│      85      │              7,195
 Inanition           │        10,687│      90      │              9,618
 Convulsions         │        14,288│      70      │             10,000
 Consumption         │         4,454│      60      │              2,648
 Pneumonia           │        37,206│      45      │             14,340
 Bronchitis          │        10,900│      50      │              5,450
 Croup               │        10,897│      45      │              4,900
 Debility and Atrophy│        12,130│      75      │              9,397
 Cholera Infantum    │        25,563│      45      │             11,502
 Diarrhœa            │         3,962│      45      │              1,782
 Cholera Morbus      │         3,180│      45      │              1,431
 ────────────────────┼──────────────┼──────────────┼───────────────────
                     │       151,732│    51.57     │             78,263
 ════════════════════╧══════════════╧══════════════╧═══════════════════


                                   IV

There are doubtless many persons, lay and medical, who will think that
the foregoing figures exaggerate the evil. But I would remind them that
I have only ascribed 30 per cent of the infantile death-rate to
“socially preventable causes,” and only 85 per cent of that number to
poverty in the broadest sense of that word.[C] I have purposely set my
estimate much lower than I am convinced it should be. All the facts
point irresistibly to the conclusion that even 50 per cent would be a
conservative estimate.

In connection with the New York Foundling Asylum on Randall’s Island, it
was decided some few years ago to introduce the Straus system of
Pasteurizing the milk given to the babies. The year before the system
was introduced there were 1181 babies in the asylum, of which number
524, or 44.36 per cent, died. In the year following, during which the
system was in operation, the number of children was 1284 and the number
of deaths only 255, or 19.80 per cent. In other words, there were 8.03
per cent more children and 48.66 per cent fewer deaths.[18]

Even more important is the testimony furnished by the Municipal “Clean
Milk” depots of Rochester, New York. Some years ago the Health Officer,
Dr. George W. Goler, called the attention of the city authorities to the
high infantile mortality occurring over a period of several years during
the months of July and August. After thorough investigation it was
fairly established that impure milk was one very important reason for
this high death-rate among children under five years of age. Accordingly
the Pasteurization system was introduced. Depots were opened in the
poorest parts of the city and placed in charge of trained nurses. After
three years it was decided that instead of Pasteurizing the milk
obtained from all sorts of places, with all its contained bacteria and
dirt, a central depot on a farm should be established and all energies
should be devoted to the insuring of a pure, clean, and wholesome supply
by keeping dirt and germs out of the milk and sterilizing all bottles
and utensils. Strict control is also exercised in this way over the
farmer with whom the contract for supplying the milk is made.

[Illustration:

  CITY OF ROCHESTER, N.Y.

  Deaths in Children Under 5 Years of Age

  _1892 Began Efficient Milk Inspection._

  _1897 Municipal Milk Stations Established._

  _1900 Established A Municipal Standard of 100000 Bacteria per c.c._
]

Some idea of the important effects of this scientific attention by the
Board of Health to the staple diet of the vast majority of children may
be gathered from the following figures, which do not, however, tell the
whole story. In the months of July and August during the eight years,
1889–1896, prior to the establishment of the Municipal Milk Stations,
there were 1744 deaths under five years of age from all causes; in the
same months during eight following years, 1897–1904, there were only 864
deaths under five years of age from all causes, a decrease of 50.46 per
cent, despite a progressive increase of population.[19] It can hardly be
questioned, I think, that these figures suggest that my estimate is
altogether conservative.

The yearly loss of these priceless baby lives does not, however,
represent the full measure of the awful cost of the poverty which
surrounds the cradle. It is not only that 75,000 or 80,000 die, but that
as many more of those who survive are irreparably weakened and injured.
Not graves alone but hospitals and prisons are filled with the victims
of childhood poverty. They who survive go to school, but are weak,
nervous, dull, and backward in their studies. Discouraged, they become
morose and defiant, and soon find their way into the “reformatories,”
for truancy or other juvenile delinquencies. Later they fill the
prisons, for the ranks of the vagrant and the criminal are recruited
from the truant and juvenile offender. Or if happily they do not become
vicious, they fail in the struggle for existence, the relentless
competition of the crowded labor mart, and sink into the abysmal depths
of pauperism. Weakened and impaired by the privations of their early
years, they cannot resist the attacks of disease, and constant sickness
brings them to the lowest level of that condition which the French call
_la misère_.


                                   V

However interesting and sociologically valuable such an analysis might
be, the separation of the different features of poverty so as to
determine their relative influence upon the sum of mortality and
sickness is manifestly impossible. We cannot say that bad housing
accounts for so many deaths, poor clothing for so many, and hunger for
so many more. These and other evils are regularly associated in cases of
poverty, the underfed being almost invariably poorly clad, and housed in
the least healthy homes. We cannot regard them as distinct problems;
they are only different phases of the same problem of poverty,—a problem
which does not lend itself to dissection at the hands of the
investigator. Still, notwithstanding that for many years all efforts to
reduce the rate of mortality among infants have dealt only with
questions of bad housing and of unhygienic conditions in general,—on the
assumption that these are the most important factors making for a high
rate of infant mortality,—it is now generally admitted that, important
as they are in themselves, these are relatively unimportant factors in
the infant death-rate. “Sanitary conditions do not make any real
difference at all,” and “It is food and food alone,” was the testimony
of Dr. Vincent before the British Interdepartmental Committee,[20] and
he was supported by some of the most eminent of his colleagues in that
position. That the evils of underfeeding are intensified when there is
an unhygienic environment is true, but it is equally true that defect in
the diet is the prime and essential cause of an excessive prevalence of
infantile diseases and of a high death-rate.

Perhaps no part of the population of our great cities suffers so much
upon the whole from overcrowding and bad housing as the poorest class of
Jews, yet the mortality of infants among them is much less than among
the poor of other nationalities, as, for instance, among the Irish and
the Italians. Dr. S. A. Knopf, one of our foremost authorities upon the
subject of tuberculosis, places underfeeding and improper feeding first,
and bad housing and insanitary conditions in general second as factors
in the causation of children’s diseases. In Birmingham, England, an
elaborate study of the vital statistics of nineteen years showed that
there had been a large decrease in the general death-rate, due,
apparently, to no other cause than the extensive sanitary improvements
made in that period, but the rate of infantile mortality remained
absolutely unchanged. The average general death-rate for the nine years,
1873–1881, was 23.5 per thousand; in the ten years, 1882–1891, it was
only 20.6. But the infantile death-rate was not affected, and remained
at 169 per thousand during both periods. There had been a reduction of
12 per cent in the general death-rate, while that for infants showed no
reduction. Had this been decreased in like degree, the infantile
mortality would have fallen from 169 to 148 per thousand.[21]

Extensive inquiries in the various children’s hospitals and dispensaries
in New York, and among physicians of large practice in the poorer
quarters of several cities, point with striking unanimity to the same
general conclusion. The Superintendents of six large dispensaries, at
which more than 25,000 children are treated annually, were asked what
proportion of the cases treated could be ascribed, on a conservative
estimate, primarily to inadequate nutrition, and the average of their
replies was 45 per cent.

In one case the Registrar in a cursory examination of the register for a
single day pointed out eleven cases out of a total of seventeen, due
almost beyond question entirely to undernutrition.

The Superintendent of the New York Babies’ Hospital, Miss Marianna
Wheeler, kindly copied from the admission book particulars of sixteen
consecutive cases. The list shows malnutrition as the most prominent
feature of 75 per cent of the cases. Miss Wheeler says: “The large
majority of our cases are similar to these given; in fact, if I kept on
right down the admission book, would find the same facts in case after
case.”


                                   VI

As in all human problems, ignorance plays an important rôle in this
great problem of childhood’s suffering and misery. The tragedy of the
infant’s position is its helplessness; not only must it suffer on
account of the misfortunes of its parents, but it must suffer from their
vices and from their ignorance as well. Nurses, sick visitors,
dispensary doctors, and those in charge of babies’ hospitals tell
pitiful stories of almost incredible ignorance of which babies are the
victims. A child was given cabbage by its mother when it was three weeks
old; another, seven weeks old, was fed for several days in succession on
sausage and bread with pickles! Both died of gastritis, victims of
ignorance. In another New York tenement home a baby less than nine weeks
old was fed on sardines with vinegar and bread by its mother. Even more
pathetic is the case of the baby, barely six weeks old, found by a
district nurse in Boston in the family clothes-basket which formed its
cradle, sucking a long strip of salt, greasy bacon and with a bottle
containing beer by its side. Though rescued from immediate death, this
child will probably never recover wholly from the severe intestinal
disorder induced by the ignorance of its mother. Yet, after all, it is
doubtful whether the beer and bacon were worse for it than many of the
patent “infant foods” of the cheaper kinds commonly given in good faith
to the children of the poor. If medical opinion goes for anything, many
of these “foods” are little better than slow poisons.[22] Tennyson’s
awful charge is still true, that:—

        “The spirit of murder works in the very means of life.”

Nor is the work of this spirit of murder confined to the concoction of
“patent foods” which are in reality patent poisons. The adulteration of
milk with formaldehyde and other base adulterants is responsible for a
great deal of infant mortality, and its ravages are chiefly confined to
the poor. It is little short of alarming that in New York City, out of
3970 samples of milk taken from dealers for analysis during 1902, no
less than 2095, or 52.77 per cent, should have been found to be
adulterated.[23] Mr. Nathan Straus, the philanthropist whose Pasteurized
milk depots have saved many thousands of baby lives during the past
twelve years, has not hesitated to call this adulteration by its proper
name, child-murder. He says:—

“If I should hire Madison Square Garden and announce that at eight
o’clock on a certain evening I would publicly strangle a child, what
excitement there would be!

“If I walked out into the ring to carry out my threat, a thousand men
would stop me and kill me—and everybody would applaud them for doing so.

“But every day children are actually murdered by neglect or by poisonous
milk. The murders are as real as the murder would be if I should choke a
child to death before the eyes of a crowd.

“It is hard to interest the people in what they don’t see.”[24]

Ignorance is indeed a grave and important phase of the problem, and the
most difficult of all to deal with. Education is the remedy, of course,
but how shall we accomplish it? It is not easy to educate after the
natural days of education are passed. Mrs. Havelock Ellis has advocated
“a noviciate for marriage,” a period of probation and of preparation and
equipment for marriage and maternity.[25] But such a proposal is too far
removed from the sphere of practicality to have more than an academic
interest at present. Simply worded letters to mothers upon the care and
feeding of their infants, supplemented by personal visits from
well-trained women visitors, would help, as similar methods have helped,
in the campaign against tuberculosis. Many foreign municipalities have
adopted this plan, notably Huddersfield, England, and several American
cities have followed their example with marked success. There should be
no great difficulty about its adoption generally. One great obstacle to
be overcome is the resentment of the mothers whom it is most necessary
to reach, as many of those engaged in philanthropic work know all too
well. One poor woman, whose little child was ailing, became very irate
when a lady visitor ventured to offer her some advice concerning the
child’s clothing and food, and soundly berated her would-be adviser.
“You talk to me about how to look after my baby!” she cried. “Why, I
guess I know more about it than you do. I’ve buried nine already!” It is
not the naïve humor of the poor woman’s wrath that is most significant,
but the grim, tragic pathos back of it. Those four words, “I’ve buried
nine already!” tell more eloquently than could a hundred learned essays
or polished orations the vastness of civilization’s failure. For,
surely, we may not regard it as anything but failure so long as women
who have borne eleven children into the world, as had this one, can say,
“I’ve buried nine already!”

But circular letters and lady visitors will not solve the problem of
maternal ignorance; such methods can only skim the surface of the evil.
This ignorance on the part of mothers, of which the babies are victims,
is deeply rooted in the soil of those economic conditions which
constitute poverty in the broadest sense of the term, though there may
be no destitution or absolute want. It is not poverty in the narrow
sense of a lack of the material necessities of life, but rather a
condition in which these are obtainable only by the concentrated effort
of all members of the family able to contribute anything and to the
exclusion of all else in life. Young girls who go to work in shops and
factories as soon as they are old enough to obtain employment frequently
continue working up to within a few days of marriage, and not
infrequently return to work for some time after marriage. Especially is
this true of girls employed in mills and factories; their male
acquaintances are for the most part fellow-workers, and marriages
between them are numerous. Where many women are employed men’s wages
are, as a consequence, almost invariably low, with the result that after
marriage it is as necessary that the woman should work as it was before.

When the years which under more favored conditions would have been spent
at home in preparation for the duties of wifehood and motherhood are
spent behind the counter, at the bench, or amid the whirl of machinery
in the factory, it is scarcely to be wondered at that the knowledge of
domestic economy is scant among them, and that so many utterly fail as
wives and mothers. Deprived of the opportunities of helping their
mothers with the housework and cooking and the care of the younger
children, marriage finds them ill-equipped; too often they are slaves to
the frying-pan, or to the stores where cooked food may be bought in
small quantities. Bad cooking, extravagance, and mismanagement are
incidental to our modern industrial conditions.


                                  VII

But there is a great deal of improper feeding of infants which,
apparently due to ignorance, is in reality due to other causes, and the
same is true of what appears to be neglect. In every large city there
are hundreds of married women and mothers who must work to keep the
family income up to the level of sufficiency for the maintenance of its
members. According to the census of 1900 there were 769,477 married
women “gainfully employed” in the United States, but there is every
reason to believe that the actual number was much greater, for it is a
well-known fact that married women, especially in factories, often
represent themselves as being single, for the reason, possibly, that it
is considered more or less of a disgrace to have to continue working
after marriage. Moreover, it is certain that many thousands of women who
work irregularly, a day or two a week, or, as in many cases, only at
intervals during the sickness or unemployment of their husbands, were
omitted. A million would probably be well within the mark as an estimate
of the number of married women workers, the census figures
notwithstanding. These working mothers may be conveniently divided into
two classes, the home workers, such as dressmakers, “finishers” employed
in the clothing trades, and many others; and the many thousands who are
employed away from their homes in cigar-making, cap-making, the textile
industries, laundry work, and a score of other occupations including
domestic service.

The proportion of married women having small children is probably larger
among those employed in the home industries than in those which are
carried on outside of the homes. Out of 748 female home “finishers” in
New York, for instance, 658 were married and 557 had from one to seven
children each.[26] The percentage could hardly equal that in the outside
industries. While there are exceptional cases, as a rule no married
woman, especially if she has young children, will go out to work unless
forced to do so by sheer necessity. Dr. Annie S. Daniel, in a most
interesting study of the conditions in 515 families where the wives
worked as finishers, found that no less than 448, or 86.78 per cent of
the whole, were obliged to work by reason of poverty arising from low
wages, frequent unemployment, or sickness of their husbands. Of the
other 67 cases, 45 of the women were widows, 15 had been deserted, and 7
had husbands who were intemperate and shiftless. Of all causes low wages
was the most common, the average weekly income of the men being only
$3.81. The average of the combined weekly earnings of man and wife was
$4.85, and rent, which averaged $8.99 per month, absorbed almost
one-half of this. In addition to the earnings of the men and women,
there were other smaller sources of income, such as children’s wages and
money received from lodgers, which brought the average income per family
of 4½ persons up to $5.69 per week.[27]

[Illustration:

  POLICE STATION USED AS A “CLEAN MILK” DEPOT, ROCHESTER, N.Y.
]

Nothing could be further from the truth than the comfortable delusion
under which so many excellent people live, that so long as the work is
done at home the children will not be neglected nor suffer. While it is
doubtless true that home employment of the mother is somewhat less
disadvantageous to the child than if she were employed away from
home,—though more injurious from the point of view of the mother
herself,—the fact is that such employment is in every way prejudicial to
the child. Even if the joint income of both parents raises the family
above want, the conditions under which that income is earned must
involve serious neglect of the child. The mother is taken away from her
household duties and the care of her children; her time is given an
economic value which makes it too precious to be spent upon anything but
the most important thing of all,—provision for their material needs. She
has no time for cooking and little for eating; the children must shift
for themselves.

Thus the employment of the mother is responsible for numerous evils of
underfeeding, improper feeding, and neglect. She works from early morn
till night, pausing only twice or thrice a day to snatch a hasty meal of
bread and coffee with the children. Her pay varies with the kind of work
she does, from one-and-a-half to ten cents an hour. Ordinarily she will
work from twelve to fourteen hours daily, but sometimes, when the work
has to be finished and delivered by a fixed time, she may work sixteen,
eighteen, or even twenty hours at a stretch. And then there are the
“waiting days” when work is slack, and hunger, or the fear of hunger,
weighs heavily upon her and crushes her down. Hard is her lot, for when
she works there is food, but little time for eating and none for cooking
or the care of her children; when there is no work there is time enough,
but little food.

In Brooklyn, in a rear tenement in the heart of that huge labyrinth of
bricks and mortar near the Great Bridge, such a mother lives and
struggles against poverty and the Great White Plague. She is an
American, born of American parents, and her husband is also native-born
but of Scotch parentage. He is a laborer and when at work earns $1.75
per day, but partly owing to frequently recurring sickness and partly
also to the difficulty of obtaining employment, it is doubtful whether
his wages average $6 a week the year through. Of six children born only
two are living, their ages being seven years and two-and-a-half years
respectively. Both are rickety and weak and stunted in appearance. As
she sat upon her bed sewing, only pausing to cough when the plague
seemed to choke her, she told her story: “It’s awful,” she said, “but I
must work else we shall get nothing to eat and be turned into the street
besides. I have no time for anything but work. I must work, work, work,
and work. Often we go to our beds as we left them when I haven’t time or
strength to shake them up, and Joe, my husband, is too tired or sick to
do it. Cooking? Oh, I cook nothing, for I haven’t time; I must work. I
send the little girl out to the store across the way and she gets what
she can,—crackers, cake, cheese, anything she can get—and I’m thankful
if I can only make some fresh tea.” Neither of this woman’s two little
children has ever known the experience of being decently fed, and their
weak, rickety bodies tell the results. From a bare account of their diet
it might be inferred that the mother must be ignorant or neglectful, but
she is, on the contrary, a most intelligent woman and devoted to her
children. Under better conditions she would perhaps have been a model
housewife and mother, but it is not within the possibilities of her
toil-worn, hunger-wasted body to be these and at the same time a
wage-earner. So, without attempting to minimize the part which ignorance
plays, it is well to emphasize the fact, so often lost sight of and
forgotten, that what appears to be ignorance or neglect is very
frequently only poverty in one of its many disguises.


                                  VIII

As a contributory cause of excessive mortality and sickness among young
children, the employment of mothers away from their homes is even more
important. There is no longer any serious dispute upon that point,
though twenty-five years ago it was the subject of a good deal of
vigorous controversy on both sides of the Atlantic.[28] Professor Jevons
thoroughly established his claim that the employment of mothers and the
ensuing neglect of their infants is a serious cause of infantile
mortality and disease. So important did he consider the question to be
that he strenuously advocated the enactment of legislation forbidding
the employment of mothers until their youngest children were at least
three years old.[29] When one who is familiar with the facts considers
all that the employment of mothers involves, it is difficult to imagine
how its evil effects upon the children could ever have been questioned.
In too many cases the toil continues through the most critical periods
of pregnancy; the infants are weaned early in order that the mother may
return to her employment, and placed in charge of some other
person—often a mere child, inexperienced and ignorant. These “little
mothers” have been much praised and idealized until we have become prone
to forget that their very existence is a great social menace and crime.
It is true that many of them show a wonderful amount of courage and
precocity in dealing with the babies intrusted to their care. But in
praising these qualities we must not forget that they are still
children, necessarily unfitted for the responsibilities thus placed upon
them. Moreover, they themselves are the victims of a great social crime
when their childhood is taken away and the cares of life which belong to
grown men and women are thrust upon them.

[Illustration:

  BABIES OF A NEW YORK DAY NURSERY

  The mothers of all these babies work away from their homes.
]

In a personal letter to the writer, Mr. Roscoe Doble, Clerk to the
Health Board of Lawrence, Massachusetts, says: “Relative to the high
infantile mortality, I can only say that ignorance in the preparation of
food, illy ventilated tenements, and, in many cases, unavoidable neglect
occasioned by the mothers being obliged to work away from the homes,
often leaving their babies in the care of other children, seem to be the
prime factors in the high mortality among children.” Similar testimony
has been given by physicians and nurses wherever I have made inquiries,
indicating a general consensus of opinion among experts upon the
subject. A striking instance of the ignorance of these little girls to
whom infants are intrusted was observed in Hamilton Fish Park when one
of them gave a baby, apparently not more than four or five months old,
soda water, banana, ice cream, and chewed cracker—all inside of twenty
minutes.

In several factory towns I made careful investigations of the home
conditions of a number of families where the mothers were employed away
from their homes, noting particularly the rates of infantile mortality
among them. The following typical schedule relates to five cases noted
in the course of a single day in one of the small towns of New York:—

                                SCHEDULE

 ════╤═══╤════════╤══════════════════════════╤════════╤════════╤════════
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │ Total  │        │
     │   │Average │                          │ number │ No. of │ No. of
 Name│Age│ Weekly │  Husband’s Work, Wages,  │   of   │Children│Children
     │   │Earnings│           etc.           │Children│ having │  now
     │   │        │                          │  Born  │  Died  │ Alive
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 ────┼───┼────────┼──────────────────────────┼────────┼────────┼────────
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
     │   │        │Mill laborer. Wages $9.00 │        │        │
 Mrs.│43 │ $7.00  │ week but is often sick.  │   5    │   5    │
  M. │   │        │     Drinks heavily.      │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 ────┼───┼────────┼──────────────────────────┼────────┼────────┼────────
     │   │        │Laborer. Often unemployed.│        │        │
 Mrs.│   │        │  Average wage the year   │        │        │
  K. │38 │ $6.50  │round not more than $7.00 │   7    │   5    │   2
     │   │        │        a week.           │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 ────┼───┼────────┼──────────────────────────┼────────┼────────┼────────
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 Mrs.│   │        │                          │        │        │
  C. │34 │ $7.00  │      Deserted wife.      │   6    │   4    │   2
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 ────┼───┼────────┼──────────────────────────┼────────┼────────┼────────
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 Mrs.│   │        │Sick two years and unable │        │        │
  S. │29 │ $6.00  │  to work. Was a laborer  │   6    │   3    │   3
     │   │        │         formerly.        │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 ────┼───┼────────┼──────────────────────────┼────────┼────────┼────────
     │   │        │   Dead 6 months. Was a   │        │        │
     │   │        │ laborer, often sick and  │        │        │
 Mrs.│41 │ $6.00  │unemployed. Widow does not│   8    │   5    │   3
  H. │   │        │ think he earned $6.00 a  │        │        │
     │   │        │   week the year round.   │        │        │
     │   │        │                          │        │        │
 ════╧═══╧════════╧══════════════════════════╧════════╧════════╧════════

 ════╤═══════════╤════════╤════════╤════════════════════════════════════
     │           │        │  How   │
     │           │        │Children│
     │Nationality│ Age of │  are   │
 Name│  of the   │Youngest│ cared  │          General Remarks
     │  Parents  │ Child  │  for   │
     │           │        │ while  │
     │           │        │ Mother │
     │           │        │ Works  │
 ────┼───────────┼────────┼────────┼────────────────────────────────────
     │           │        │        │All five died under 18 months of
     │  Mother,  │        │        │age; three of them under 6 months.
 Mrs.│  Irish;   │        │        │All the children were cared for by
  M. │  Father,  │        │        │other children while mother worked.
     │  Scotch.  │        │        │Three died of convulsions, two of
     │           │        │        │diarrhœa.
 ────┼───────────┼────────┼────────┼────────────────────────────────────
     │  Mother,  │        │        │All five that died were under 12
 Mrs.│   Irish   │   10   │By girl,│months of age. Two of them died of
  K. │ American; │months. │ aged 9 │convulsions, one of acute gastritis,
     │  Father,  │        │ years. │two of measles. The baby is a puny
     │  Swede.   │        │        │little thing.
 ────┼───────────┼────────┼────────┼────────────────────────────────────
     │  Mother,  │        │   By   │
 Mrs.│  German;  │   18   │ oldest │One child was scalded to death while
  C. │  Father,  │months. │ girl,  │mother was at work; one died of
     │ Austrian. │        │ aged 9 │convulsions and two of bronchitis.
     │           │        │ years. │
 ────┼───────────┼────────┼────────┼────────────────────────────────────
     │           │        │        │The first two children and the last
     │  Mother   │        │   By   │born are alive; the third, fourth,
 Mrs.│ English;  │        │ father │and fifth are dead, each of them
  S. │  Father,  │2 years.│and girl│dying within the first year. Mother
     │ American. │        │  of 7  │says they were poor, puny babies.
     │           │        │ years. │Causes of death: Debility, 2;
     │           │        │        │convulsions, 1.
 ────┼───────────┼────────┼────────┼────────────────────────────────────
     │  Mother,  │        │   By   │The first two and the eighth born
     │ American; │        │ oldest │are alive; the five intervening are
 Mrs.│  Father   │   20   │girl, 11│dead. Four of these died within the
  H. │(deceased),│months. │ years  │first year. Causes of death:
     │  French-  │        │  old.  │Debility, 2; intestinal dyspepsia,
     │ Canadian. │        │        │2; bronchitis, 1.
 ════╧═══════════╧════════╧════════╧════════════════════════════════════

It will be observed that out of a total of 32 children born only 10 were
alive at the time of the inquiry, and that of the number dead no less
than 18 were under one year of age, the cause of death in most cases
being associated with neglect and defective diet. Of the ten children
surviving, six were decidedly weak, and the mothers said that they were
“generally sick” and that somehow it seemed as if they “took” every sort
of disease, a well-known condition of the undernourished child.

In the same town the case of a poor Hungarian mother was brought to my
attention by one perfectly familiar with all the details, a witness of
unassailable veracity. This poor Hungarian child-wife and mother was
barely fifteen when her baby was born, but she had been working fully
three years in the mill. When the child was born the father disappeared.
“He was afraid he could never pay the cost,” the wife said in his
defence. On the ninth day after her confinement she returned to her
work, leaving the baby in charge of a girl nine years old.

[Illustration:

  A GROUP OF CHILDREN WHOSE MOTHERS ARE EMPLOYED AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES
]

Upon the day the baby was two weeks old, word came to the mother while
at work that it had been taken suddenly ill and imploring her to return
to it at once. Terrified, she sought the foreman of her department and
begged to be allowed to go home. “Ma chil seek! Ma chil die!” she cried.
But the foreman needed her and scowled; they were “rushed” in the
winding-room. And so he refused to grant her the permission she
sought—refused with foul objurgations. Heartbroken, she went to another,
superior, foreman and in broken English begged to be allowed to go to
her sick babe. “Ma chil seek! Ma chil die!” she cried incessantly. This
foreman also refused at first to let her go. Perhaps it was because he
thought of his own daughter that he relented at last and gave her
permission to go home—_permission_ to give a mother’s care to the child
born of her travail! Eye-witnesses say that she sank down upon her knees
and, with hysterical gratitude, kissed the foreman’s rough, dirty hands.
“You good man! You good man!” she shrieked, then fled from the mill with
frenzied haste.

But when she reached her little tenement home in “Hunk’s town” the baby
was already dead, and there was only a lifeless form for her to clasp in
her arms. The life of an infant child is too frail a thing, and too
uncertain, to permit us to say that a mother’s care would have sufficed
to save that babe. But the doctor said neglect was the cause of death,
and the poor mother has moaned daily these many months, “If I no work,
ma chil die not. I work an’ kill ma chil!”

Thirty-five years ago Paris was besieged by Germany’s vast army. For
months the war raged with terrible cost to invader and invaded; industry
was paralyzed and factories were closed down, with the result that there
was the most frightful poverty due to unemployment. But, because the
mothers were forced to stay at home, and were thus enabled to give their
children their personal care and attention instead of trusting them to
the “little mothers,” the mortality of infants decreased by 40 per cent.
No other explanation of that striking fact, so far as I am aware, has
ever been attempted.[30] Very similar was the effect upon the infantile
death-rate during the great cotton famine in Lancashire as a result of
the prolonged unemployment of so many hundreds of mothers.
Notwithstanding the immense increase in poverty, the fact that the
mothers could personally care for their infants more than compensated
for it and lowered the rate of mortality in a most striking manner.[31]
These examples of a profound social fact are sufficient for our present
purpose, though, were it necessary, they might be indefinitely
multiplied.


                                   IX

Perhaps the employment of mothers too close to the time of childbirth,
both before and after, is almost as important as the subsequent neglect
and intrusting of children to the tender mercies of ignorant and
irresponsible caretakers. Élie Reclus tells us that among savages it is
the universal custom to exempt their women from toil during stated
periods prior to and following childbirth,[32] and in most countries
legislation has been enacted forbidding the employment of women within a
certain given period from the birth of a child. In Switzerland the
employment of mothers is prohibited for two months before confinement
and the same period afterwards.[33] At present the English law forbids
the employment of a mother within four weeks after she has given birth
to a child, and the trend of public opinion seems to be in favor of the
extension of the period of exemption to the standard set by the Swiss
law.[34] So far as I am aware there exists no legislation of this kind
in the United States, in which respect we stand alone among the great
nations, and behind the savage of all lands and ages.

Wherever women are employed in large numbers, as, for example, in the
textile industries and in cigar-making, the need for such legislation
has presented itself, and it is impossible, unfortunately, to think that
the absence of it in this country indicates a like absence of need for
it. Cases in which women endure the agony of parturition amid the roar
and whirl of machinery, and the bed of childbirth is the factory floor,
are by no means uncommon. From a large mill, less than twenty miles from
New York City, four such cases were reported to me in less than three
months. Careful personal investigation in each case revealed the fact
that the unfortunate women had begged in vain that they might be allowed
to go home. One such case occurred on the morning of June 27 of this
year, and was reported to me that same evening by letter. The writer of
the letter is well known to me and his testimony unimpeachable.

A poor Slav woman, little more than a child in years, begged for
permission to go home because she felt ill and unable to stand.
Notwithstanding that her condition was perfectly evident, her appeal was
denied with most brutal oaths. Cowering with fear she shrank away back
to her loom with tears of shame and physical agony. Soon afterward her
shrieks were heard above the din of the mill and there, in the presence
of scores of workers of both sexes,—many of whom were girls of fourteen
years of age,—her child was born. Perhaps it is fortunate that the child
did not live to be a constant reminder to the poor woman of that hour of
unspeakable shame and suffering! The young daughter of my correspondent
was one of the witnesses of this shameful, inhuman thing. Subsequently I
secured ample corroboration of the story from the local Slav priest who
knew the poor woman and visited her soon after the occurrence. When I
showed the letter of my informant to a local physician, he acknowledged
that he had heard of other similar cases occurring and begged me to see
one of the principal owners of the mill and secure the discharge of the
foreman whose name was given. As if that could do any good! What good
would be accomplished by securing the discharge of the man, and possibly
bringing him and his family to poverty? That it would salve the
conscience of the mill owner is probable. That it would be a
well-deserved rebuke of the foreman’s inhumanity is likewise true. But
it would not contribute in any way to the solution of the problem of
which the case in question was but one of many examples.

[Illustration:

  A SAMPLE REPORT

  Careful investigation showed this report to be absolutely correct
    except for the fact that the birth was normal and not “premature.”
]

Not long ago, in one of the largest cigar factories in New York, a woman
left her bench with a cry of agony and sank down in a corner of the
factory, where, in the presence of scores of workers of both sexes,
whose gay laughter and chatter her shrieks had stilled, she became a
mother. The poor woman afterwards confessed that she had feared that it
might happen so, but said she “wanted to get in another day so as to
have a full week’s pay and money for the doctor.” Within two weeks she
was back again at her trade, but in another shop, her baby being left in
the care of an old woman of seventy who supports herself by caring for
little children at a charge of five cents per day. In another factory a
woman returned to work on the seventh day after her confinement, but was
sent back by the foreman. This woman, a Bohemian, explained that she did
not feel well enough to work but feared that she might lose her place if
she remained longer away. The dread prospect of unemployment and hunger
had forced her from her bed to face the awful perils attendant upon
premature exertion and exposure. Had she been a “savage heathen” in the
kraal of some Kaffir tribe in Africa she would have been shielded,
protected, and spared this peril, but she was in a civilized country, in
the richest city of the world, and therefore unprotected!

In many factories, probably a majority, women in whom the signs of
approaching motherhood are conspicuous are discharged. “It don’t take
two people to run this loom,” or “Two can’t work at one job,” are
typically brutal examples of the language employed by bosses of a
certain type upon such occasions. The fear of being discharged causes
many a poor woman to adopt the most pitiful means to hide her condition
from the boss. “It wouldn’t be so bad if we were only laid off for a few
weeks, but it’s getting fired and the trouble of finding a new job that
hurts,” they say. But the consequences are too serious alike to mother
and child, to justify legislative neglect or the dependence upon the
wisdom or humanity of employers or foremen. In many cases, doubtless,
sympathy for the women themselves and the knowledge that discharge, or
even suspension for a few weeks, would mean increased poverty and
hardship, induces foremen to allow them to remain at work as long as
they can stand. But in many other instances the condition of business
and the needs of the employer at the moment determine the question. If
the mill or factory is busy and in need of hands, the pregnant woman is
rarely discharged; if there is difficulty in obtaining workers in
certain unpopular departments, like the winding-room of a textile mill,
for instance, such a woman will frequently be given the option of
ceasing work or going into the less popular department, generally at
less wages.

The evil is apparent, but the remedy is not so obvious. That no woman
should be permitted to work during a period of six or eight weeks
immediately before and after childbirth may be agreed, but then the
necessity arises for some adequate means of securing her proper
maintenance during her necessary and enforced idleness. To forbid her
employment without making provision for her needs would possibly be an
even greater evil than now cries for remedy. The question really
resolves itself into this: Is civilized man equal to the task which the
savage everywhere fulfils? Private philanthropy has occasionally
grappled with this problem and the results have been highly significant
of what might be accomplished if what has been done as a matter of
charity in a few cases could be done generally as a matter of justice
and right. Of these private experiments perhaps the most famous of all
are those of the celebrated Alsatian manufacturer, M. Jean Dolphus, and
the Messrs. Fox Brothers, of Wellington, Somerset, England.

M. Dolphus found that in his factory at Mülhausen, where a large number
of married women were employed, the mothers lost over 40 per cent of
their babies in the first year, though the average at that age for the
whole district was only 18 per cent. He noticed, moreover, that the
mortality was greatest in the first three months of life, and that set
him thinking of a remedy. He decided therefore to require all mothers to
remain away from their work for a period of six weeks after childbirth,
during which time he undertook to pay them their wages in full. The
results were astonishing, the decrease in infantile mortality in the
first year being from more than 40 to less than 18 per cent.[35] Other
employers followed with similarly beneficent results, among these being
the firm of Fox Brothers, who employed considerably over one thousand
persons, more than half of whom were women. They paid wages for three
weeks only, but provided excellent _crèches_ with competent matrons in
charge for the care of the infants whose mothers were at work. There,
also, the infantile death-rate was very materially reduced, though,
owing to the fact that no statistics showing the rate among children
whose mothers were employed by the firm prior to the introduction of the
plan exist, it cannot be statistically represented. Mr. Charles H. Fox,
head of the firm, is authority for the statement that the reduction was
extensive.[36] The importance of these experiments, especially in
conjunction with the experiences of Paris in the great siege and
Lancashire in the cotton famine, cannot easily be overestimated. They
clearly show that not only hunger, but that other aspect of poverty
hardly less important, the neglect of infants through industrial
conditions which force the mothers to neglect them, are responsible for
an alarming sacrifice of life year by year, and that it is possible to
reduce materially the rate of infant mortality by improving the economic
circumstances of the parents.


                                   X

No study of this problem can be regarded as satisfactory which ignores
the question of poverty and its relation to the number of still-births,
yet we can only touch briefly upon it. No brutal Malthusian cynicism,
but a calm view of such facts as those cited, leaves the impression
that, however it might be under other and more humane social conditions,
still-birth means very often a child’s escape from a life of suffering
and misery. It is surely better that a babe should be strangled in the
process of delivery from its mother’s womb, never to utter a cry, than
that it should live to cry of hunger which its mother cannot appease, or
from the torture of food unsuited to its little stomach! When a mother
suffers all the pain and anxiety caused by the struggling life within
her, and in her travail goes down to the brink of the grave, only to be
mocked at last by a lifeless thing, she suffers the supreme anguish of
her kind. Last year there were more than 6000 such tragedies in the city
of New York alone, and the number in the whole country was probably not
less than 80,000.

Some of the best authorities upon the subject of vital statistics insist
that still-births should be included in the death-rates, and in many
foreign cities, notably Berlin,[37] they are so included. If such a
method were adopted in this country, it is easy to see how important the
effects would be upon the tables of mortality. Whatever opinions they
may hold upon the moot question of regarding still-births as deaths in
all enumerations, all authorities appear to agree that the circumstances
of the mothers influence the numbers of the still-born as surely as they
do the actual infantile death-rates. Six physicians of large obstetrical
experience were asked to estimate what percentage of the still-born
should be ascribed to the influence of poverty, and the average of their
replies was 60 per cent.

[Illustration:

  BABIES WHOSE MOTHERS WORK CARED FOR IN A _CRÈCHE_
]

That may be an overestimate, or it may be, and probably is, an
underestimate. If we assume it to be fairly correct, it means that in
one city something like 3700 mothers needlessly endured the supreme
agony, and as many lives were sacrificed to poverty. It means that to
the 80,000 babies annually devoured by the wolf of poverty must be added
another 45,000 killed by the same cruel foe in the passage of the race
from the womb of dependence to a separate existence. Whatever the number
may be, it is certain that many are still-born because of the fatigue
and overexertion of the mothers in the critical periods of pregnancy and
that many more are suffocated in the passage from the womb because of
the employment of untrained and unskilled midwives—especially, as often
is the case, when the “midwife” is only a kindly neighbor called in
because of the poverty of the family to which the child comes. And it
may be added, incidentally, that still-birth is not by any means the
only danger from this source, nor the most lamentable. Many accidents of
a non-fatal character occur at birth which seriously affect the whole of
life. Carelessness, inexperience, and ignorance may cause the
suffocation of the child, or by pressure upon some delicate nerve centre
irreparable injury may be caused to it, such as paralysis for life or
hopeless imbecility.[38]


                                   XI

It is a strange fact of social psychology that people in the mass,
whether nations or smaller communities, or crowds, have much less
feeling and conscience than the same people have as individuals. People
whose souls would cry out against such conditions as we have described
coming under their notice in a specific case, _en masse_ are unmoved. As
individuals we fully recognize that charity can never take the place of
justice, but collectively, as citizens, we are prone to solace ourselves
with the thought that charity, organized and unorganized, somehow meets
the problem, and we blind ourselves to the contrary evidences which
everywhere confront us. But it is only too true that charity—“that
damnably cold thing called charity”—fails utterly to meet the problem of
poverty in general and childhood’s poverty in particular. Nothing could
be more pathetic than the method employed by so many charitable persons
and societies of attempting to solve the latter problem by finding
employment for the mother, as if that were not the worst phase of all
from any sane view of the child’s interest. Charity degrades and
demoralizes, and there is little or no compensating effective help. In
the vast majority of cases it fails to reach the suffering in time to
save them from becoming chronic dependents. More and more the heart and
brain of the world are coming to a recognition of the fact that charity,
however well organized, cannot solve the problems which the gigantic and
blind forces inhering in the laws of social development have called into
being.

While the causes of poverty remain active in the forces which govern
their lives, it is impossible to reclaim the victims. Were nothing but
charity possible, consideration of this and other phases of our growing
social misery might well plunge us into the deepest and blackest
pessimism. But surely we may see in those experiments in the work of
social reconstruction, which wise and enlightened municipalities have
undertaken, a widening sense of social responsibility and the rays of
the hope-light for which men have waited through the years. Such social
efforts as the municipal milk depots of Europe and this country, based
upon the _Gouttes de Lait_ of France;[39] the provision of free,
well-regulated _crèches_[40] and the extension of free medical service
at the public cost, have been attended with important beneficial results
and point the way to further efforts in the same direction. Experience
points clearly to the need of some provision to enable the mother to
remain with her infant child instead of leaving it to the care of others
while she joins the great machine, and becomes part of it, in the
interests of that world-supremacy in commerce and industry which is our
boast and dream, and for which we are paying too terrible a price.

It is, of course, true that even these measures will not banish poverty
from the world. They can only palliate the evils, not eradicate them.
Eradication can only be accomplished by greater, foundational changes
which will make it possible for every child to flourish as befits the
inheritors of the ages of strife and suffering which the world is slowly
coming to regard as so many experiences and lessons in the art of life.
Between the present wrong and that ideal there must come golden years of
opportunity for enlightened social statesmanship consecrated to the
rescue of the nation’s children from the curse and thrall of cruel and
relentless poverty, which otherwise must be bequeathed again to the
generations yet unborn to damn their lives. In the child’s cry of to-day
wisdom will hear the nation of to-morrow pleading that it may be saved
from the blight and decay of a poverty which our vast resources and
treasuries of wealth declare to be as needless as it is shameful and
wrong.

-----

Footnote B:

  For a contrary view of this question, see Dr. Paton’s article on “The
  Influence of Diet in Pregnancy on the Weight of the Offspring,”
  _Lancet_, July 4, 1903; and Dr. Ballantyne’s “Antenatal Pathology and
  Hygiene.”

Footnote C:

  Drs. Baillestre and Gillette have estimated that three-fourths of the
  infantile death-rate of France are due to avoidable causes. Five years
  of ignorance, they say, has cost France 220,000 lives—equal to the
  loss of an army corps of 45,000 men annually.—_Lancet_, February 2,
  1901.



                                   II
                            THE SCHOOL CHILD

            “‘It is good when it happens,’ say the children,
              ‘That we die before our time.’”
                                          —MRS. BROWNING.


                                   I

In a New York kindergarten one winter’s morning a frail, dark-eyed girl
stood by the radiator warming her tiny blue and benumbed hands. She was
poorly and scantily clad, and her wan, pinched face was unutterably sad
with the sadness that shadows the children of poverty and comes from
cares which only maturer years should know. When she had warmed her
little hands back to life again, the child looked wistfully up into the
teacher’s face and asked:—

“Teacher, do you love God?”

“Why, yes, dearie, of course I love God,” answered the wondering
teacher.

“Well, I don’t—I hate Him!” was the fierce rejoinder. “He makes the wind
blow, and I haven’t any warm clothes—He makes it snow, and my shoes have
holes in them—He makes it cold, and we haven’t any fire at home—He makes
us hungry, and mamma hadn’t any bread for our breakfast—Oh, I hate
Him!”[41]

This story, widely published in the newspapers two or three years ago
and vouched for by the teacher, is remarkable no less for its graphic
description of the thing called poverty than for the child’s passionate
revolt against the supposed author of her misery. Poor, scanty clothing,
cheerless homes, hunger day by day,—these are the main characteristics
of that heritage of poverty to which so many thousands of children are
born. Tens of thousands of baby lives are extinguished by its blasts
every year as though they were so many candles swept by angry winds. But
their fate is far more merciful and enviable than the fate of those who
survive.

For the children who survive the struggle with poverty in their infant
years, and those who do not encounter that struggle until they have
reached school age, not only feel the anguish and shame which comes with
developed consciousness, but society imposes upon them the added burden
of mental effort. Regarding education as the only safe anchorage for a
Democracy, we make it compulsory and boast that it is one of the
fundamental principles of our economy that every child shall be given a
certain amount of elementary instruction. This is our safeguard against
those evils which other generations regarded as being inherent in
popular, representative government. The modern public school, with its
splendid equipment devised to promote the mental and physical
development of our future citizens, is based upon motives and instincts
of self-preservation as distinct and clearly defined as those underlying
our systems of naval and military defences against armed invasion, or
the systems of public sanitation and hygiene through which we seek to
protect ourselves from devastating plagues within.

The past fifty or sixty years have been attended with a wonderful
development of the science of education, as remarkable and important in
its way as anything of which we may boast. We are proud, and justly so,
of the admirable machinery of instruction which we have created, the
fine buildings, laboratories, curricula, highly trained teachers, and so
on, but there is a growing conviction that all this represents only so
much mechanical, rather than human, progress. We have created a vast
network of means, there is no lack of equipment, but we have largely
neglected the human and most important factor, the child.[42] The
futility of expecting efficient education when the teacher is
handicapped by poor and inadequate means is generally recognized, but
not so as yet the futility of expecting it when the teacher has poor
material to work upon in the form of chronically underfed children, too
weak in mind and body to do the work required of them. We are forever
seeking the explanation of the large percentage of educational failures
in the machinery of instruction rather than in the human material, the
children themselves.

The nervous, irritable, half-ill children to be found in such large
numbers in our public schools represent poor material. They are largely
drawn from the homes of poverty, and constitute an overwhelming majority
of those children for whom we have found it necessary to make special
provision,—the backward, dull pupils found year after year in the same
grades with much younger children. In a measure the relation of a
child’s educability to its physical health and comfort has been
recognized by the correlation of physical and mental exercises in most
up-to-date schools, but its larger social and economic significance has
been almost wholly ignored. And yet it is quite certain that poverty
exercises the same retarding influences upon the physical training as
upon mental education. There are certain conditions precedent to
successful education, whether physical or mental. Chief of these are a
reasonable amount of good, nourishing food and a healthy home. Deprived
of these, physical or mental development must necessarily be hindered.
And poverty means just that to the child. It denies its victim these
very necessities with the inevitable result, physical and mental
weakness and inefficiency.

[Illustration:

  A “LUNG BLOCK” CHILD IN A TRAGICALLY SUGGESTIVE POSITION
]


                                   II

In a careful analysis of the principal data available, Mr. Robert Hunter
has attempted the difficult task of estimating the measure of privation,
and his conclusion is that in normal times there are at least 10,000,000
persons in the United States in poverty.[43] That is to say, there are
so many persons underfed, poorly housed, underclad, and having no
security in the means of life. As an incidental condition he has
observed that poverty’s misery falls most heavily upon the children, and
that there are probably not less than from 60,000 to 70,000 children in
New York city alone “who often arrive at school hungry and unfitted to
do well the work required.”[44] By a section of the press that statement
was garbled into something very different, that 70,000 children in New
York city go “breakfastless” to school every day. In that form the
statement was naturally and very justly criticised, for, of course,
nothing like that number of children go absolutely without breakfast. It
is not, however, a question of children going without breakfast, but of
children who are _underfed_, and the latter word would have been better
fitted to express the real meaning of the original statement than the
word “hungry.” Many thousands of little children go breakfastless to
school at times, but the real problem is much more extensive than that
and embraces that much more numerous class of children who are
chronically underfed, either because their food is insufficient in
quantity, or, what is the same thing in the end, poor in quality and
lacking in nutriment.

It is noteworthy that no serious criticism of the estimate that there
are 10,000,000 in poverty has been attempted. Some of the most
experienced philanthropic workers in the country have indeed urged that
it is altogether too low. I am myself convinced that the estimate is a
most conservative one. It would be warranted alone by the figures of
unemployment, which show that in 1900, a year of fairly normal
industrial conditions, 2,000,000 male wage-earners were unemployed for
from four to six months. But to these figures Mr. Hunter adds a mass of
corroborative facts which suggest that the only just criticism which can
be made of his estimate is that it is an understatement. And, if there
are 10,000,000 persons in poverty in the United States, there must be at
least 3,300,000 of that number under fourteen years of age.

To test the accuracy of the statistics of unemployment, low wages,
sickness, charitable relief, etc., by detailed investigation would be an
impossible task for any private investigator. No such test could be
effectively carried out in a single great city by private agencies. But,
while they are open to the criticisms which all such statistics are
subject to, those given by Mr. Hunter represent the most reliable data
available. They justify, I believe, the conclusion that in normal times
there are not less than 3,300,000 children under fourteen years of age
in poverty, and a considerably greater number in periods of unusual
depression. If we divide this number into two age groups, those under
five and those from five to fourteen, we shall find that there are
1,455,000 in the former group and 1,845,000 in the latter. It is a
well-known fact, however, that poverty is far more prevalent among
children over five years of age than among younger children, and it is
safe to assume that of the total number of children estimated to be in
poverty, there are fully 2,000,000 between the ages of five and fourteen
years, nearly 12 per cent of the total number of children living in that
age period. The importance of this from an educational point of view is
apparent when it is remembered that from five to fourteen years is the
principal period of school attendance.


                                  III

This problem of poverty in its relation to childhood and education is,
to us in America, quite new. We have not studied it as it has been
studied in England and other European countries where, for many years,
it has been the subject of much investigation and experiment. When it
was suggested that 60,000 or 70,000 children go to school in our
greatest city in an underfed condition, and when Dr. W. H. Maxwell,
superintendent of the Board of Education of New York City, declared in a
public address that there are hundreds of thousands of children in the
public schools of the nation unable to study or learn because of their
hunger,[45] something of a sensation was caused from one end of the land
to the other. But in England, where for more than twenty years
investigators have been studying the problem and experimenting, and have
built up a considerable literature upon the subject, which has become
one of the most pressing political problems of the time, they have
become so conversant with the facts that no fresh recital, however
eloquent, can create anything like a sensation. And what is true of
England is true of almost every other country in Europe. Only we in the
United States have ignored this terrible problem of child hunger. We
have so long been used to express our commiseration with the Old World
on account of the heavy burden of pauperism beneath which it groans, and
to boast of our greater prosperity and happiness, that we have hardly
observed the ominous signs that similar causes at work among us are fast
producing similar results. Now we have awakened to the fact that here,
too, are two nations within the nation,—the nation of the rich and the
nation of the poor,—and that Fourier’s terrible prophecy of “poverty
through plethora,” has found fulfilment in the land where he fondly
dreamed that his Utopia might be realized. The poverty problem is to-day
the supreme challenge to our national conscience and instincts of
self-preservation, and its saddest and most alarming feature is the
suffering and doom it imposes upon the children.

Such investigations as have been made by Mr. Hunter, myself, and others
in New York and other large cities, meagre as they have been, tend to
the conclusion that the extent of the evil of underfeeding has not been
exaggerated. It is true that the Board of Education of New York City
appointed a special committee to investigate the subject and that their
report, based upon the testimony of a number of school principals and
teachers, would indicate that only a very small number of children in
our public schools suffer from underfeeding. Many persons who regarded
that report as the conclusive answer of the expert were at once
satisfied. In order that the reader may better understand the
investigations herein summarized and view them without prejudice, it may
be well to digress somewhat to discuss that very optimistic report.

At a very early period of the agitation upon the subject, and before the
Board of Education had discussed it, I undertook a series of
investigations with a view to testing as far as possible Mr. Hunter’s
estimate. My investigations included personal observation and inquiry in
a number of public schools in various parts of the city having a total
attendance of something more than 28,000 children. When the Board of
Education took action upon the matter and appointed its special
committee, I was already far advanced in that work. Realizing that the
value of such an inquiry as the Board of Education had decided upon must
depend entirely upon the methods adopted, I turned my attention to the
task of watching carefully the “investigation.” It was a case of
investigating an investigation. When the special committee met I laid
before the members certain evidence of the utter worthlessness of the
reports they had received from the schools, as well as some of the
information I had gathered concerning the extent of the evil of
underfeeding, in the hope that the committee might be induced to
undertake a careful and extensive investigation of the whole subject by
a body of experts.

In the first place, the official inquiry had been confined to the number
of “breakfastless” children, and, secondly, the principals had no
instructions as to the manner in which their inquiries should be
conducted. The various District Superintendents merely requested the
principals to “carefully investigate” and report the number of children
attending school without breakfast, in some cases forty-eight hours
being allowed and in many others only twenty-four hours. The result of
this lack of method and system was most deplorable, many of the
principals adopting methods of investigation which not only proved quite
futile, but, what is more important, effectually destroyed all chances
of proper investigation for the time being. From the statements
submitted to the committee, I quote two examples as showing the
character of the “evidence” upon which its report was based.


                                   IV

The principal of a large school on the West Side reported that “after
careful inquiries” he had found only one little girl who came to school
without breakfast, and she did so from choice, saying, “Because I never
used to have any breakfast in Germany, sir, and didn’t want any.” There
were also two boys, Syrians, who said that they had three meals each day
but could never get enough to eat. The little girl insisted that she
“always had a good lunch.” Here, then, was a big school with over two
thousand pupils, representing twenty different nationalities, in which
there were only three possible cases of underfeeding, the element of
doubt being strong in each case! Every one who has had the least
experience of work amongst the poor knows perfectly well that it would
be absolutely impossible to gather together 2000 children from the
tenements of any city without including many more cases of undoubted
hardship and suffering. And the neighborhood of this school is a
particularly poor one. Close to the school are some of the foulest
tenements to be found in the whole city. The crowding of two families in
one room is common, and poverty and squalor are abundantly evidenced on
every hand.

After the principal had told me of his report I went over the district
with the Captain of the neighboring Slum Post of the Salvation Army. The
Captain knew personally several children attending the school who were
literally half starved. Out of 26 children, boys and girls, at the free
breakfast one morning there were 22 from the school, and their hunger
and misery were beyond question. One little boy was barely seven years
old, and a more woful appearance than he presented cannot well be
imagined. He had come to the breakfast station two days before the date
of our visit, the Captain said, literally famishing, filthy, and covered
with sores. The good woman had fed and cleaned the poor little waif and
bandaged his feet and legs. “It was an awful job,” she said, “for he was
so dirty. It took four changes of water to get him well cleaned. Then I
bandaged him and got some old but clean clothes for him.” Even so, after
two days of such feeding and care as he had never known before, the poor
child looked forlorn, weak, and inexpressibly miserable. Little Mike’s
case was doubtless exceptionally bad, but it is not too much to say that
the whole district is a wen of terrible poverty. Yet from the
principal’s report it would seem that the children bear no share of its
hardships and privations. And this is impossible. It is the children who
suffer most of all.

To account for the principal’s roseate and obviously misleading report,
it is only necessary to understand how the inquiry was made upon which
the report was based. Asked to explain how he had made his
investigation, the principal said, “I went to every class and asked all
those children who had had no breakfast to stand up.” When it is
remembered that children are naturally very sensitive about their
poverty, regarding it as being something in the nature of a personal
degradation, nothing need be said to show the futility of such a method
of inquiry. I have frequently known children on the verge of exhaustion
to deny that they were hungry, so keenly do they feel that poverty is a
disgrace. I saw the little girl and the two Syrian boys in the presence
of the principal upon the occasion of my second visit to the school and
questioned them. The two boys said, through an interpreter, that they
had bread and coffee for every meal and vigorously denied having had
butter, jam, milk, eggs, or meat of any kind. They certainly looked
anæmic, weak, and underfed. The little girl’s story, which I could get
only by dint of careful and sympathetic questioning, epitomizes the
whole problem of underfeeding as it affects thousands of children. She
gave at first practically the same answer as she had given the
principal, saying that she did not have breakfast because she was not
accustomed to it and didn’t need it, and that she always had a good
lunch.

But her full story revealed a very different condition from what these
innocent replies would indicate. Both her parents go out to work,
leaving home soon after five o’clock in the morning. The father is a
laborer employed at the docks, and the mother works in the kitchen of a
cheap restaurant. They go away leaving the little girl in bed, and when
she rises there is generally some cold coffee and bread for her. But
there is no clock, and she does not know the time and is afraid of being
late to school and does not stay to eat. “Sometimes, when papa has no
work, there is no food left for me to eat,” she said. Then she told of
her “good lunch.” Generally there is five cents left upon the table for
her to buy lunch with. “Only when papa is not working is there no money
left.” On the day of my interview with her she had spent her five cents
for a cup of coffee with nothing at all to eat, as she had done for two
or three successive days. Asked why she had not bought something to eat,
or a glass of milk, instead of coffee, she answered, “Because coffee is
hot, sir, and I was so cold.” Her father returns home at six o’clock in
the evening and sends her to the delicatessen store to buy
something—generally bologna sausage—for their evening meal. The mother,
who eats at the restaurant, does not return until about two hours later.
From this fuller story of the little girl’s life it is seen that her
“good lunch” day after day consists of a cup of coffee without a morsel
of food, and that she fasts frequently, almost constantly, from the
evening of one day to the evening of the next.

Such tactlessness on the part of the principal of a great public school
seems almost incredible. But it is a fact that most teachers seem to
have no other method of finding out anything from their children than by
calling upon them to “show hands,” notwithstanding that experience
proves it to be a most unreliable one. Children not only shrink from
confessing their poverty and hunger, but they are also quick to give the
answers desired by the teacher, even though the teacher’s feelings are
only manifested by a slight inflection of voice. Public examination of
the children is a useless as well as most cruel method to adopt. But it
was generally adopted, and I could cite case after case from my notes.
One other case, however, must suffice. The principal of one of the
smallest schools in the city, situated on the East Side in a poor
Italian district, assured me that there were practically no hungry or
underfed children in the school. Asked to estimate the number of such
children, she said that they were “less than 1 per cent of the
attendance.” She had found 9 cases of destitution just previously as a
result of an inquiry made through the teachers, which, as was pointed
out to her, meant fully 2 per cent of the attendance. For the total
enrolment in this school is less than 500 and the average attendance not
more than 450. Asked how the 9 cases had been discovered, the principal
replied, “Why, I simply went to each class and asked, ‘What little boy
or girl did not have breakfast to-day, or not enough breakfast? Please
show hands.’” There was, she said, no doubt whatever that the 9 children
were the victims of great poverty. That as many as 2 per cent of the
children should, under the circumstances, confess their poverty is
undoubtedly a most serious fact and indicates a much larger number of
actual victims.

How such a method of examination intimidates the children and fails to
elicit the truth, the following incident, related as nearly as possible
in the principal’s own words, will show. It relates to a little boy whom
we will call Tony:—

“I went to a classroom and asked: ‘How many children had no breakfast
to-day? Show hands!’ Not a single hand went up. Then the teacher said,
‘Why, I am sure that boy, Tony, looks as if he were half starved.’ And
he really did, so I told him to stand up and questioned him. ‘Did you
have any breakfast this morning, Tony?’ I asked. He hung his head for a
minute and then said, ‘No, mum.’

[Illustration:

  A TYPICAL “LITTLE MOTHER”
]

“‘Now, Tony, wouldn’t you like to have a good breakfast every
morning,—some hot coffee and nice rolls?’

“‘Yes, mum.’

“‘Well, do you know the Salvation Army where they give breakfasts to
little boys who need them?’

“‘Yes, mum.’

“‘Well, if I get you a ticket, won’t you go there to-morrow and get your
breakfast?’

“The little fellow’s eyes flashed and he looked straight at me and said,
‘No, mum, I don’t want it.’ Really, I admired his spirit. Poor as he
was, he did not want charity.”

Better than any argument the principal’s own words show the cruel,
inquisitorial method and its effectiveness in suppressing the truth. I
repeat, that was the method of inquiry generally adopted, and it was
upon reports based upon the results of such examinations that the
special committee of the Board of Education based its report.


                                   V

Of course, not all teachers are so tactless. A very large number are
merely unobservant, possibly because they have become inured to the
pitiful appearance of the children and their painfully low physical
development. It is common to hear teachers in poor districts say: “When
I first came to this school my heart used to ache with pity on account
of the poverty-stricken appearance of many of the children and the sad
tales they sometimes tell. But now I have grown used to it all.” That,
in many cases, tells the whole secret—they have grown accustomed to the
sight of stunted bodies and wan, pinched faces. There are teachers,
earnest men and women devoted to their profession, and consecrating it
by an almost religious passion, who study the home life and social
environment of the children intrusted to their care; but they are,
unhappily, exceptions. The number of teachers having no idea of how a
healthy child should look is astonishingly large. The hectic flush of
disease is often mistaken by teachers and principals for the bloom of
health.

In one large school the principal, in the course of a personally
conducted visit to the different classrooms, singled out a little
Italian girl, and asked with a note of pride in his voice: “Wouldn’t you
call this a healthy child? I do. Look at her round, full face.” There
were a great many signs of ill health in that little girl’s appearance
which the good principal did not recognize. I pointed out some of the
signs of grave nervous disorder, due, as I afterward learned, almost
beyond question, to malnutrition. Her cheeks were well rounded, but her
pitifully thin arms indicated a very ill-developed body. I pointed out
her nervous hand, the baggy fulness under her eyes, and the abrasions at
the corners of her twitching mouth,[46] and asked that the teacher might
be consulted as to the girl’s school record. “She is not a very bright
child,” said the teacher, “and what to do with her is a problem. She is
very nervous, irritable, and excitable. She seems to get exhausted very
soon, and it is impossible for her to apply herself properly to her
work. I think very likely that she is underfed, for she comes from a
very poor home.” Subsequent investigation at her home, on Mott Street,
showed that her father, who is a consumptive, earns from sixty cents to
a dollar a day peddling laces, needles, and other small articles, the
rest of the income supporting the family of seven persons being derived
from the mother’s labor. They occupy one small room, and the only means
of cooking they have is a small gas “ring” such as is sold for ten cents
in the cheap stores.

Where principals and teachers declined to assist, it was impossible to
make inquiries in the schools, and it was useless to make them in
schools where the children had already been openly questioned. Wherever
it was possible to secure the coöperation of principals or teachers, I
got them to question the children privately and sympathetically. In 16
schools, 12,800 children were thus privately examined, and of that
number 987, or 7.71 per cent, were reported as having had no breakfast
upon the day of the inquiry, and 1963, or 15.32 per cent, as having had
altogether too little. Teachers were asked to exclude as far as possible
all cases of an obviously accidental nature from the returns, as, for
instance, when a child known to be in fairly comfortable circumstances
had come to school without breakfast merely because of lack of appetite.
They were also requested to regard as having had inadequate breakfasts
only children who had had bread only (with or without tea or coffee), or
such things as crackers or crullers in place of bread, but without milk,
cereals, cake, butter, jam, eggs, fruit, fish, or meat of any kind. That
this standard was altogether too low will probably be admitted without
question, but there was no way of examining the actual meals of the
children, and some sort of arbitrary rule was necessary. The figures
given are therefore based on a very low standard, and most certainly do
not include all cases either of the unfed or underfed. It is more than
probable that some children who had gone without breakfasts refused to
admit the fact, and there were several instances in which children known
to be desperately poor, and who, the teachers felt, were certainly
underfed, gave the most surprising accounts—which must have been drawn
from their imaginations[47]—of elaborate breakfasts. Out of 12,800
children, then, 2950, or more than 23 per cent, were found either wholly
breakfastless or having had such miserably poor breakfasts as described.
And that is certainly an understatement of the evil of underfeeding in
those schools.

One of the most notable of these school investigations was undertaken by
the principal of a large school to “prove conclusively that really there
is no such thing as a serious problem of underfeeding among our school
children.” The principal is a devoted believer in the theory of the
survival of the fittest, and in the elimination of the weak by
competition and struggle. “If you attempt to take hardship and suffering
out of their lives by smoothing the pathway of life for these children,
you weaken their character, and, by so doing, you sin against the
children themselves and, through them, against society,” he said. With
the view of Huxley and others that the real interest and duty of society
is to make as many as possible fit to survive, he expressed himself as
having no sympathy, on the ground that it conflicts with nature’s
immutable law of struggle. But, as often happens, his deeds frequently
run counter to his merciless creed, and he is one of the most generous
and compassionate of men. The children trust him, and the sense of an
intimate friendship between him and them is the most delightful
impression the visitor receives. There is no absence of real, effective
discipline, but it is discipline based upon sympathy, friendship, and
trust. The principal declared that he did not believe that 5 children
could be found in the whole school of 1500 who could be described as
badly underfed, or who came to school breakfastless.

The district in which this school is situated is one of the poorest in
the city, the population consisting almost exclusively of Italians. Most
of the men are unskilled laborers working for very low wages and
irregularly employed. Many of them are recent immigrants and subject to
the vicious padrone system. Every fresh batch of immigrants intensifies
the already keen and brutal competition, and to maintain even the low
standard of living to which they are accustomed, the wives frequently
work as wage-earners. The people are housed in vile tenements, and the
crowding of two families into one small room is by no means uncommon.
“Little mothers” and their rickety infant charges crowd the pavements.
In the early morning, even during the winter months, groups of shivering
children gather outside the school waiting for admission hours before
the time of opening, and at lunch time instead of going to their homes
they hasten away with their pennies and nickels to buy ice cream,
pickles, peppers, or cream puffs for their midday meal. Knowing these to
be the conditions existing in the neighborhood, it was impossible to
accept the optimistic views of the principal without serious
questioning, and it was to convince me that he was right that he
undertook to have the investigation made while we went over the school.

The teachers were requested to examine every child privately, and to
report the number of children having had no breakfast that morning and
the number having had inadequate breakfasts. Some of the teachers
absolutely refused to ask the children “such questions,” and two or
three sent in obstinately stupid reports such as “nobody underfed but
the teacher.” Reports were received from 19 classes with an actual
attendance of 865 children, of which number 104 were reported as having
had no breakfast and 54 as having had too little. Not all the reports
were of equal value, I afterward found, some of the teachers having
ignored the rule and regarded coffee and bread as sufficient. In one
case there were three children who declared that they had only cold
coffee without any food. They should have been reported as
breakfastless, but in fact they were not reported in either column. So
that it is probable that in this case also the figures given are an
understatement of actual conditions. In one class of 43 children 13 were
reported as having had no breakfast and 12 as having had insufficient,
and when the report was sent back with instructions that the teacher try
to find out _why_ the 13 children had no breakfast, it was returned with
the postscript in the teacher’s handwriting, “There was no food for them
to eat.” In another class out of 65 children no less than 30 were
reported as having had no breakfast, but of these 12 had had either tea
or coffee. As they did not have food of any kind other than the tea or
coffee, the teacher reported them as breakfastless. Making all
allowances for discrepancies and differences of value in the teachers’
reports, it is surely most serious that no less than 17.81 per cent of
the children examined should be reported as either breakfastless or very
inadequately fed that day. It should be said that this inquiry took
place in the winter, the season when there is most unemployment among
unskilled laborers, and it is not probable that the same amount of
poverty would be found all the year round.

One incident in connection with the investigation in this school is
worthy of record. A lad of about 13 or 14 years of age in one of the
highest grades, who had been reported as having had no breakfast, was
seen in the principal’s office at noon. He seemed to be quite rugged and
healthy, and the principal said that he was “the brightest boy in the
school, and a good lad, too.” He showed us his lunch—a roll of bread and
two small pieces of almost transparent cheese. “Isn’t that enough for a
boy?” asked the principal, laughingly. The boy responded: “Yes, but I
had no breakfast, and this has to do me all day. I don’t have any
breakfast most times, and sometimes no lunch or supper. You know that
Mr. B—— used to give me some very often.” And the principal confirmed
this part of the lad’s story with a tender, “Yes, I know, sonny.” The
boy told us a saddening story of a mother cowed down by a brutal
husband, and of the latter’s vice. He is a cook and has often beaten his
wife, who works in an embroidery factory. A year or so ago he went to
Italy, leaving his wife here. Soon afterward he wrote to her for money
to pay his passage back. She was penniless, but, the lad quaintly said,
“she made a debt of a hundred dollars” to send to him. “Then she had to
pay every week, and there wasn’t much food.” The rest of his tale of
shame—shame of a father’s sin—need not be told. It is too horrible. “Why
doesn’t your mother leave him and just take you with her? You are the
only child, aren’t you?” asked the principal. “Yes, I’m the only one,
but there are ten dead,” was the boy’s startling reply. It was,
unconsciously, a significant comment upon the good principal’s theory of
the survival of the fittest.

In another school the principal told me that she had reported to the
District Superintendent that of 1000 children on the register at least
100 were badly underfed. She told of children fainting in school or in
the yard from lack of food, and of others suffering from disorders of
the bowels due to the same cause. Many of these children were pointed
out in the course of several visits to the school. “Ignorance plays a
large part in the problem,” said the principal, “but I think it is
mostly poverty. When work is hard to get, or there is sickness in the
family, or when there is a strike, then the children suffer most, and
that shows that it is poverty in most cases.” Upon one of my visits to
this school, I encountered one of those pathetic incidents of which I
have gathered so many in the course of these investigations. Little
Patsey, the American-born child of Irish parents, had for some days been
ailing and unable to attend properly to his lessons. The teacher
suspected that improper food was the cause, and Patsey’s account of his
diet confirmed her in that opinion. So she advised Patsey to tell his
mother that oatmeal would be better for him. “Get oatmeal, Patsey, it’s
better—and very cheap, too.” There were tears in the principal’s eyes as
she told how, that very morning, the teacher had found what she supposed
to be powdered chalk upon the floor and was about to scold the culprit,
when she discovered that it was Patsey’s oatmeal! _Poor little Patsey
had for three days been spending his daily lunch allowance of three
cents upon oatmeal and eating it dry. Teacher had said that it was
better!_ Only the thought of the teacher’s influence, and the hope that
through the medium of such influence as hers it may be possible to
dispel much of the ignorance of which so many children are the victims,
relieves the pathos of the incident and brightens it.


                                   VI

Soon after the foregoing investigations were made, Dr. H. M.
Lechstrecker, of the New York State Board of Charities, conducted an
examination of 10,707 children in the Industrial Schools of New York
City. He found that 439, or 4.10 per cent, had had no breakfast on the
date of the inquiry, while 998, or 9.32 per cent, exhibited anæmic
conditions apparently due to lack of proper nourishment. Upon
investigation the teachers found that the breakfasts of each of the 998
consisted either of coffee only, or of coffee with bread only. Only
1855, or 17.32 per cent, started the day with what Dr. Lechstrecker
considered to be an adequate meal.[48] Other independent inquiries in
several cities show that the problem is by no means peculiar to New
York.

In Buffalo the principal of one large school, Mr. Charles L. Ryan, is
reported as saying that of the 1500 children in his school at least
one-tenth come to school in the morning without breakfast. In 8 schools
in Buffalo, having a total average attendance of 7500 pupils, the
principals estimated that 350, or 4.46 per cent, have no breakfasts at
all, and that 800 more have too little to insure effective work. No less
than 5105 of the 7500 children were reported as having tea or coffee
with bread only.[49] It is rather difficult to analyze these figures
satisfactorily, but it would appear that no less than 17.33 per cent of
the total number of children in these 8 schools are believed by the
principals and teachers to be appreciably handicapped by defective
nutrition, and that only 16.80 per cent are adequately and
satisfactorily fed.

In Chicago several independent investigations have been made. Mr.
William Hornbaker, principal of the Oliver Goldsmith school, says: “We
have here 1100 children in a district which is so crowded that all our
pupils come from an area comprising only about twenty acres. When I
began work here, I discovered that many of the pupils remained all day
without food. A great majority of the parents in this district, as well
as the older children, are at work from dawn to dusk, and have no time
to care for the little ones. Such children have no place to go when
dismissed at noon.”[50] At this school a lunch room has been
established, and two meals a day are provided for about 50 of the most
necessitous children. At first these meals were sold at a penny per
meal, but it was found that even pennies were too hard to obtain. Mr.
Hornbaker points out that the pride of the larger children restrains
them, and it is most difficult to get them to admit their hunger, but
the younger children are not so sensitive. He says that “unquestionably
a majority of the children are improperly fed, especially in the lower
grades.” Out of a total attendance of 5150 children in 5 Chicago schools
122 were reported as breakfastless, 1464 as having only bread with
coffee or tea, a total of 30.79 per cent.[51]

In Philadelphia several inquiries were made, with the result that of
4589 children 189 were reported as going generally or often without
breakfast of any kind, while 2504 began the day on coffee or tea and
bread, a total of 58.52 per cent.[52] In Cleveland, Boston, and Los
Angeles, among many other cities, teachers and others declare that the
evil is quite as extensive.

Massing the figures given from New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and
Chicago, we get a total of 40,746 children examined, of which number
14,121, or 34.65 per cent, either went breakfastless to school or got
miserably poor breakfasts of bread and tea or coffee. At least bread and
tea must prove to be a poor diet, wholly insufficient to meet the
demands of a growing human body, and the difficulty of obtaining good,
wholesome bread in our cities intensifies the evil. The wholesale
adulteration of food is indeed a most serious menace to life and health
to which the poor are constantly subjected.

These figures are not put forward as being in any sense a statistical
measure of the problem. The investigations described, and others of a
like nature, afford no adequate basis for scientific estimates. They are
all confined to the one morning meal, and the standard adopted for
judging of the adequateness of the meals given to the children is
necessarily crude and lacking in scientific precision. It cannot be too
strongly emphasized that it is not a question of whether so many
children go without breakfast occasionally, but whether they are
_underfed_, either through missing meals more or less frequently or
through feeding day by day and week by week upon food that is poor in
quality, unsuitable, and of small nutritive value, and whether in
consequence the children suffer physically or mentally, or both. Only a
comprehensive examination by experts of a large number of children in
different parts of the country, a careful inquiry into their diet and
their physical and mental development, would afford a satisfactory basis
for any statistical measure of the problem which could be accepted as
even approximately correct. Yet such inquiries as those described cannot
be ignored; in the absence of more comprehensive and scientific
investigations they are of great value, on account of the mass of
observed facts which they give; and the results certainly tend to show
that the estimate that fully 2,000,000 children of school age in the
United States are badly underfed is not exaggerated.


                                  VII

As stated, all the investigations described were confined to the
breakfast meal. There has been practically no effort made, so far as I
am aware, to determine how many children there are who go without
lunches back to their lessons, or, what is quite as important, how many
there are to whom are given small sums of money to procure lunches for
themselves; and what kind of lunches they buy. Even in Europe most of
the investigations made have been confined to the morning meal. Yet this
lunch question is probably even more important than the other. There are
doubtless many more children who go without lunch than without
breakfast. Thousands of children who get some sort of breakfast, even if
it is only coffee and bread, get nothing at all for lunch, and a still
larger number—in some schools I have found as many as 20 per cent—get
small sums of money, ranging from one to five cents, to buy lunches for
themselves. And in most cases the condition of these is just as
deplorable as if they had nothing at all, if not much worse. Their
tragedy lies in the fact that in most cases the money they spend would
be quite sufficient to provide decent, nourishing meals if it were
wisely spent, instead of which they get what is positively injurious.

When a child of eight or nine years of age whose breakfast consists of
tea and bread lunches day after day upon pickles, its digestive system
must of necessity be impaired. Wise discrimination cannot be expected
from young children, and the temptation of the candy stores and of the
push carts laden with ice cream or fruit is great. Often the fact that
children in the very poorest districts spend so many pence is urged as
evidence that no serious problem of poverty exists, but that is a wholly
unwarranted assumption. There may not be absolute destitution; the
family income may be sufficient to keep its members above the line of
primary poverty, but the conditions under which it is earned,
necessitating the employment of the mother, involve the suffering of the
children. The mother is taken away from her legitimate work, the care of
her home and children, and they are left to their own resources. In the
course of these investigations I have found hundreds of children going
back to their lessons without having had any lunch, and hundreds more of
the class just described. In one class of 40 in an East Side school I
found 11 with pennies to buy their own lunches. These children were all
between the ages of eight and ten years. In another school the principal
said that there were 50 such children known to her out of a total of
less than 500. In 4 other schools, with an attendance of 4500, the
principals’ estimates of the number of such children aggregated 521, or
11.51 per cent.

This phase of the problem of child hunger is not peculiar to New York.
The reports of teachers in many cities and towns and my own observations
show that this evil is invariably associated with poverty; and European
investigations all support that view.[53] It is probable that in some of
the smaller manufacturing towns it prevails to a larger proportional
extent than in cities like New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and St.
Louis, but of that matter there are no data. The answers of teachers and
others to inquiries as to what such children buy have been monotonously
alike. They buy candy, cream puffs, ice cream, fruit (very often
damaged, decayed, or unripe), pickles, and other unwholesome things. One
cold day last winter I visited the neighborhood of a large school with
an idea that it might be possible to ascertain just exactly what a
number of children would buy for lunch. Any one who has ever watched the
outpouring of children from a large school will realize how utterly
impossible it is to keep any considerable number of them under
observation. Like a great river that has broken its banks the human
torrent rushes through the streets and crowds them awhile, then spreads
far and wide. I found 14 children in a delicatessen store, 8 boys and 6
girls. Seven of them bought pickles and bread; 4 bought pickles only; 2
bought bologna sausage and rye bread, and 1 bought pickled fish and
bread. In a neighboring street I made similar observations one day
during the summer. Out of 19 children 8 bought pickles, 2 of them with
bread, the others without; 6 bought ice cream, 2 bought bananas, and 3
others bought candy. For the children of the poor there seems to be some
strange fascination about pickles. One lad of ten said that he always
bought pickles with his three cents. “I must have pickles,” he said. It
would seem that the chronic underfeeding creates a nervous craving for
some kind of a stimulant which the child finds in pickles. The adult
resorts to whiskey very often for much the same reason. There is every
reason to believe that this malnutrition lays the foundation for
inebriety in later years. The custom of giving the children money
instead of prepared lunches is also responsible for a good deal of
gambling, especially among the boys. Little Tony plays “craps” and loses
his lunch, and the boy who wins gets a particularly big unwholesome
“blow out,” or adds a packet of cigarettes to his meal of pickles or
cream puffs.

In one large school on the West Side the principal confidently declared
that 10 per cent would be altogether too low an estimate of the number
of badly underfed children in that school. “If you mean only the
breakfastless ones,” she said, “why, it is too high, but if you include
those whose breakfasts are totally inadequate, and those who have no
lunches, those whose lunches at home are as inadequate as their
breakfasts, and those who get only the bad things they buy for lunch—in
a word, if you include all who suffer on account of defective, low
nutrition, the estimate of 10 per cent is too low for this school. There
are whole blocks in this district from which we scarcely get a child who
is not, at some time or other in the course of a year, in want of food.
The worst cases are in the primary grades, for many of the older
children drop out. The boys find odd jobs to do, and the girls are
needed at home to care for the smaller children.” The population of this
district is largely Irish and most of the men belong to that class of
unskilled laborers which, more than any other industrial class, suffers
from irregularity of employment. Many are longshoremen, others are
truck-men, builders’ laborers, and so on. No other class of workers
suffers so much from what may be called accidental causes as this. A war
in some far-away land may for a while seriously divert the stream of
commerce, and the longshoreman of New York suffers unemployment and its
attendant poverty; a strike of bricklayers or carpenters will throw the
laborers and their families into the maws of all-devouring misery, or a
week of bad weather may cause inexpressible hardship. When employment is
steady the wages they receive are in most cases only sufficient to keep
their families just above the line of poverty; when there is sickness or
unemployment, even for a couple of weeks, there is privation and the
growth of a burden of debt which remains to crush them downward when
wages begin to come in again. Want actually continues in such cases
through what, judged by the wage standard, appears to be a time of
normal prosperity. It is hardly to be wondered at that there is a good
deal of intemperance and improvidence. These conditions are the economic
soil in which intemperance, thriftlessness, and irresponsibility
flourish.

In this district, with the coöperation of a well-trained and experienced
woman investigator, a careful investigation of the condition of 50
families represented in the school was made. The number of children
attending school from the 50 families was 79. Of that number there were
24 who had no breakfast of any kind on the days they were visited, while
of the 55 more fortunate ones no less than 30 had only bread with tea or
coffee. Only 35 of the children had any lunch, or money with which to
procure any, 44 missing that meal entirely. Terrible as they are, these
figures do not tell the whole story. It is impossible to appreciate what
going without lunch means to these children unless we take into account
the fact that those who go without lunch, and those who eat only the
deleterious things they buy, are in most cases the same children who
either go breakfastless or have only bread and coffee day after day. And
their evening meal is very often a repetition of the morning meal, bread
and coffee or tea. From the schedule showing the actual dietary of the
children in question contained in the report of my co-investigator I
give, in the following table, the particulars relating to 6 families.
They are perfectly typical cases and demonstrate very clearly the woful
inadequacy of diet common to children of the poor.

 ════════╤════════╤═════════════════╤═════════════════╤═════════════════
  Family │ No. of │    Breakfast    │      Lunch      │     Supper
         │ School │                 │                 │
         │Children│                 │                 │
 ────────┼────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────┼─────────────────
    1    │   2    │Bread and tea    │None.            │Bread and tea.
         │        │  only.          │                 │
    2    │   1    │None.            │Soup from        │Coffee and bread.
         │        │                 │  charity.       │
    3    │   1    │Coffee and rolls │Coffee and bread.│Tea and bread.
         │        │  (no butter or  │                 │
         │        │  jam).          │                 │
    4    │   3    │Bread and tea    │None.            │Bread and tea
         │        │  only.          │                 │  only.
    5    │   2    │None.            │Soup with the    │Piece of bread.
         │        │                 │  soup-meat.     │
    6    │   1    │Bread and jam    │None.            │Tea and bread
         │        │  with coffee.   │                 │  with jam.
 ════════╧════════╧═════════════════╧═════════════════╧═════════════════

It is a horrible fact that many of these children whose diet is so
unwholesome cannot eat decent food, even when they are most hungry. It
is not merely a question of appetite, but of stomachs too weak by reason
of chronic hunger and malnutrition to stand good and nutritious food.
This has been frequently observed in connection with Fresh Air Outings
for poor children in the tenement districts. I have known scores of
instances. Very often these children have to be patiently taught to eat.
Sometimes it takes several days to induce them to take milk and eggs.
They crave for their accustomed food—coffee and bread, or pickles. The
same fact has been observed in connection with adults in the hospitals.
When the Salvation Army started its free breakfast stations in New York,
the newspapers made a good deal of the fact that the children refused to
eat the good soup and milk porridge at first provided. That was regarded
as conclusive evidence that they were not hungry, for a hungry child is
supposed to eat almost anything. That is true in a measure of children
who are merely hungry, but these children are more than hungry. They are
weak and unhealthy as the result of chronic underfeeding. I myself saw
many children at the Salvation Army free breakfast depots whose hunger
was only too apparent try bravely to eat the soup until they actually
vomited. They would beg for a piece of bread, and when it was given them
eat it ravenously. In an uptown school a little English boy fainted one
morning while at his lessons. He had fainted the day before in the
school yard, but the teacher thought that it was due to overexertion
while at play. When he fainted the second time she took him to the
principal’s office, and they discovered that he had not eaten anything
that day, and only a piece of bread the day before. The principal sent
for some milk, and when it was warmed in the school kitchen she gave it
to the lad with a couple of dainty chicken sandwiches from her own
lunch, expecting him to enjoy a rare treat. But he didn’t. He took only
a bite or two and a sup of milk, then began to vomit. He could not be
induced to eat any more nor even to drink the milk. Presently, however,
he said to the teacher, “I think I could eat some bread, teacher,” and
when they sent out for some rolls and coffee he ate as though he had
seen no food for a week. Very few people, it may be added, incidentally,
realize how much the teachers and principals of schools in the poorest
districts give out of their slender incomes to provide children with
food, clothing, and shoes. But how little it all amounts to in the way
of solving the problem is best expressed in the words of one principal,
“What I can give in that way to the worst cases only lessens the evil in
just the same degree as a handful of sands taken from the seashore
lessens the number of grains.”

[Illustration:

  A COSMOPOLITAN GROUP OF “FRESH AIR FUND” CHILDREN
]


                                  VIII

The physical effects of such underfeeding cannot be easily
overestimated. No fact has been more thoroughly established than the
physical superiority of the children of the well-to-do classes over
their less fortunate fellows. In Moscow, N.V. Zark, a famous Russian
authority, found that at all ages the boys attending the Real schools
and the Classical Gymnasium are superior in height and weight to peasant
boys.[54] In Leipzic, children paying 18 marks school fees are superior
in height and weight to those paying only 9, and gymnasium boys are
superior to those of the lower Real and Burger schools.[55] Studies in
Stockholm and Turin show the same general results, the poorer children
being invariably shorter, lighter, and smaller of chest. The British
Anthropometric Committee found that English boys at ten in the
Industrial Schools were 3.31 inches shorter and 10.64 pounds lighter
than children of the well-to-do classes, while at fourteen years the
differences in height and weight were 6.65 inches and 21.85 pounds,
respectively.[56] Dr. Charles W. Roberts gives some striking results of
the examination of 19,846 English boys and men.[57] Of these, 5915
belong to the non-laboring classes of the English population, namely,
public school boys, naval and military cadets, medical and university
students. The remaining 13,931 belong to the artisan class. The
difference in height, weight, and chest girth, from thirteen to sixteen
years of age, is as follows:—

                        AVERAGE HEIGHT IN INCHES

 ═══════════════════════╤═══════════╤═══════════╤═══════════╤═══════════
           Age          │    13     │    14     │    15     │    16
 ───────────────────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────
 Non-laboring class     │      58.79│      61.11│      63.47│      66.40
 Artisan class          │      55.93│      57.76│      60.58│      62.93
 ───────────────────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────
 Difference             │       2.66│       3.35│       2.89│       3.47
 ═══════════════════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════

                        AVERAGE WEIGHT IN POUNDS

 ═══════════════════════╤═══════════╤═══════════╤═══════════╤═══════════
           Age          │    13     │    14     │    15     │    16
 ───────────────────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────
 Non-laboring class     │      88.60│      99.21│     110.42│     128.34
 Artisan class          │      78.27│      84.61│      96.79│     108.70
 ───────────────────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────
 Difference             │      10.33│      14.60│      13.63│      19.64
 ═══════════════════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════

                      AVERAGE CHEST GIRTH IN INCHES

 ═══════════════════════╤═══════════╤═══════════╤═══════════╤═══════════
           Age          │    13     │    14     │    15     │    16
 ───────────────────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────
 Non-laboring class     │      28.41│      29.65│      30.72│      33.08
 Artisan class          │      25.24│      26.28│      27.51│      28.97
 ───────────────────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────┼───────────
 Difference             │       3.17│       3.37│       3.21│       4.11
 ═══════════════════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════╧═══════════

It will be seen, therefore, that the children of the non-laboring class
at thirteen years of age exceed those of the artisan class in height
almost three inches, in weight almost ten and a half pounds, and in
chest girth almost three and a quarter inches. And these figures by no
means represent fully the contrast in physique which exists between the
very poorest and well-to-do children. The difference between the
children of the best-paid artisans and the poorest-paid of the same
class is nearly as great. Mr. Rowntree found that in York, England, the
boys of the poorest section of the working-class were on an average
three and one-half inches shorter than the boys of the better-paid
section of the working-class. As regards weight Mr. Rowntree found the
difference to be eleven pounds in favor of the child of the best-paid
artisan.[58]

Dr. W.W. Keen quotes the figures of Roberts with approval as applying
almost equally to this country,[59] and all the studies yet made by
American investigators seem to justify that opinion. There exists a
somewhat voluminous, but scattered, American literature tending to the
same general conclusions as the European. The classic studies of Dr.
Bowditch,[60] in Boston, and Dr. Porter,[61] in St. Louis, showed very
distinctly that the children of the poorer classes in those cities were
decidedly behind those of the well-to-do classes in both height and
weight. The more recent investigations of Dr. Hrdlicka[62] fully bear
out the results of these earlier studies.

The Report on Physical Training (Scotland) calls attention once more to
the fact that children in the pauper, reformatory, and industrial
schools are superior in physique to the children in the ordinary
elementary schools. Says the report: “The contrast between the condition
of such children as are seen in the poor day schools and the children of
parents who have altogether failed in their duty is both marked and
painful.”[63] Commenting upon which an English Socialist writer says:
“The obvious deduction is that if you are doing your duty ... and your
children are brought up in the way they should go, they will not be half
as well off as if they were truants or thieves. Therefore, ... the best
thing you can do for them ... is to turn your children into little
criminals.”[64] Without accepting these cynical deductions, the fact
remains that in a great many instances those children who, by reason of
the criminality of their parents or their complete failure to provide
for their offspring, find their way into such institutions, are far
better off, physically, than their fellows in the ordinary schools whose
parents are careful and industrious. But for the taint of institutional
life, and the crushing out of individuality which almost invariably
accompanies it, they would be far better equipped for the battle of
life.

The real significance of this physical superiority is not so obvious as
the writer quoted appears to assume. The fact is that these children are
generally below the average even of their own class when they are
admitted to these institutions. Their superior physique shows the
regeneration which proper food and hygienic conditions produce in the
worst cases.


                                   IX

More than two thousand years ago Aristotle pointed out that physical
health was the basis of mental health, and the importance of a sound
physical development as an essential condition of successful education.
“First the body must be trained and _then_ the understanding,” declared
the great Stagirite. The “new spirit” of modern education is admirably
expressed in the Aristotelian maxim. This new spirit is a protest
against the practice, futile from the standpoint of society, and brutal
from the standpoint of the child, of attempting to educate hungry,
physically weak, and ill-developed children who are unfitted to bear the
strain and effort involved in the educational process. No one who has
studied the matter at all can doubt that the physical deterioration
which accompanies the impoverishment of the workers is of tremendous
significance educationally. All the evidence gathered upon the subject
in Europe and this country tends to the conclusion that physical
weakness and underdevelopment account for a very large percentage of our
educational failures. The studies of Porter, in St. Louis, Smedley and
Christopher, in Chicago, and of Professor Beyer, who is perhaps our
greatest authority, all tend to confirm the results of European
investigations, that children of superior physique make the best pupils.
Dull, backward pupils are generally inferior in physical
development.[65]

The number of dull and backward children in our public schools is so
great that a study from this physiological point of view would seem to
be quite as desirable and important as the many exhaustive and valuable
psychological studies with which the literature of Child Study abounds.
For many years special tutorial methods and institutions have existed
for idiot and feeble-minded children and such other classes of
distinctly defective children as epileptics, the blind, the deaf, and
the dumb. But it is only in recent years that any effort has been made
to deal with that far larger class of children distinguished equally
from these distinctly defective classes and from normal, typical
children. These pseudo-atypical children, as Dr. Groszmann terms them,
are much more numerous than is generally supposed. Professor Monroe, of
Stanford University, gathered particulars relating to 10,000 children in
the public schools of California and found that 3 per cent of the
children were feeble-minded and not less than 10 per cent backward and
mentally dull, needing special care and attention.[66] These children
who “skirt the borderland of abnormity” cannot properly be dealt with in
the ordinary classes, and it has been found necessary in most cities to
establish special classes for their benefit. While some of these classes
have children whose backwardness is more apparent than real, the
children of foreign immigrants, for example, whose difficulties with the
language cause them to be placed in grades with much younger children,
the problem is still serious when all possible allowance has been made
for these. In districts where the number of foreign-born children is
very small the percentage of backward children is very great. The
percentage found in the schools of California by Professor Monroe is
probably not too high for the country as a whole. In a general way it
corroborates the findings of European investigators, and a number of
educators to whom I submitted the question have given estimates based
upon their personal observations ranging from 10 to 15 per cent.

If we accept the California figures and apply them to the whole country,
we get a total of about 1,500,000 such children enrolled in the public
schools, for not more than one-fourth of whom has any special provision
been made or attempted. The seriousness of this aspect of the problem
will be apparent to teachers and others familiar with school work who
know how seriously 1 or 2 such children in a class of 40 or 50 will
impair the efficiency of the teacher’s efforts. By reason of their
dulness and slow mental action such children absorb too much of the
teacher’s time, which might more profitably be spent upon other
children, and thus act as a drag upon all the members of the class.

Moreover, they become discouraged by their failures, and, hardened by
constant rebuke and the taunts of their brighter companions, finally
careless, defiant, and altogether incorrigible. In many cases they leave
school before they are of the legal age, their leaving welcomed, and
often suggested, by the teachers, who not unnaturally tire of the
hindrance to their work. Yet they are the very children who can least of
all afford to miss whatever education they are capable of. They, more
than any others, need the training and development of their minds to fit
them for the battle of life. How can they otherwise be expected to earn
their daily bread in the competitive labor market, where dulness of
brain must inevitably prove a serious handicap? And unless they can
stand the test of that competition, they must become paupers. Many of
these children are taken away from school and sent to work, because,
their parents say, “they can’t learn and are better helping to pay the
rent than wasting their time in school.” In connection with the movement
for the prevention of child labor, we have come across hundreds of
instances of this kind. Factory inspectors and physicians in industrial
centres where child labor is prevalent have frequently pointed out that
a very large number of child workers are quite unfit for work. They were
sick and backward in school, and instead of that special care being
given them which their condition demanded in order that they might be
equipped for the struggle for existence, they were removed altogether
from the school’s influences and subjected to conditions which tend to
further deterioration, physical, mental, and moral.[67]

So that the problem is not merely one of economic waste represented by a
fruitless and vain expenditure for the education of children who are not
capable of benefiting by it. It is not merely a question of economic
waste added to educational failure and the peril to society which that
failure must involve in the crime which ignorance breeds and fosters.
All these things are involved, and, in addition to them, is involved the
terrible fact that we turn them adrift in the world, unfit for its
service and unable to adjust themselves to its needs. In the very nature
of things, because they are ill developed of body and mind, they must
become industrially inefficient. They sink from depth to depth in the
industrial abyss,

             “To endure wrongs darker than death or night.”

Where giant machines, inventors’ brains, and ambitious immigrants in
countless numbers all conspire to narrow the labor market, they are
ruthlessly thrust aside. They are not only unemployed but unemployable.
They become paupers, driven into the morass of pauperism by forces that
are practically, for them, irresistible. Thus is the problem of
pauperism perpetuating itself. And to the economic waste represented by
the expenditure upon them in the schools must be added the further cost
of their support as dependants and paupers. It is a vicious circle.


                                   X

That these same conditions are a fruitful source of criminality is
unquestionable. All our studies of juvenile delinquency point to the
fact that a very large proportion of the children who become truants,
moral perverts, and criminals are drawn from this same class of
physically degenerate children. It is commonplace nowadays to say that
many of our criminals are not really criminals at all, but the victims
of physical or mental abnormalities, often directly traceable to low
nutrition. In observing a number of juvenile delinquents the proportion
of ill-developed children is generally noticeable. Professor G. Stanley
Hall says, “Juvenile criminals, as a class, are inferior in body and
mind to normal children, and ... their social environment is no less
inferior.”[68] Professor Dawson found among boys and girls in
reformatory institutions a tendency to lighter weight, shorter stature,
and less strength of grip; 16 per cent of them being “clearly sufferers
from low nutrition.”[69] Professor Kline has shown the same general
condition in a striking study, and concludes that “low nutrition breeds
discontent and a tendency to run away.”[70] A mass of very similar
testimony might be cited from the records of the most competent
investigators in this and other countries. It is the universal
experience that a low standard of physical development is almost
invariably associated with low mental and moral standards.

It is no mere coincidence that inferiority of physique should be thus
universally and inseparably associated with inferiority of economic
condition. It is not a mere coincidence that superiority of physique
should be generally associated with mental superiority. Nor will the
suggestion of coincidence suffice to explain the universal association
of low physical and mental development with criminal propensities. These
facts possess a very definite, and very obvious, relation as cause and
effect. The three main divisions of degeneracy, physical, mental, and
moral, are inseparable and spring from the same causes. From the
investigations which have been made in this country and from the
voluminous literature upon the subject which similar investigations in
European countries have produced, I am satisfied that poor, defective
nutrition lies at the root of the physical degeneration of the poor; and
_a priori_ reasoning would justify the conclusion that the mental
degeneracy evidenced by the enormous number of backward children,
educational failures, and the moral degeneracy evidenced by increasing
juvenile delinquency and crime, are due to the same fundamental cause.
From those data alone we might, with ample justification, adopt the
words of a famous authority and say, “Defective nutrition lies at the
base of all forms of degeneracy.”[71] We need not, however, rely upon
this method, for there is no lack of direct testimony to show that low
nutrition is the prime and most fruitful cause of mental dulness and its
attendant evils.

I do not wish to be understood as contending that physical, mental, or
moral defects never exist except as a result of defective nutrition, or
that malnutrition never exists except as a result of poverty. I know,
for instance, that a great many children are backward in their studies
because they are handicapped by defects of vision or hearing, adenoid
growths, and the like. These are often easily curable, and the fitting
of proper glasses, or the removal of adenoid growths by slight surgical
operations, suffice to bring such children up to the standard of
normality. In an examination of over 7000 children in New York public
schools one-third were found to have “defects of vision, interfering
with the proper pursuit of their studies.”[72] In such cases
malnutrition may or may not be the initial cause. That defective vision
is often attributable to low and improper nutrition is beyond question.
My contention is that the vast majority of dull and backward children,
whose number makes a serious pedagogical problem, and a still more
serious social problem in that so many of them become either inefficient
and dependent, or criminal, are dull and backward as a result of
physical inferiority directly traceable to poor and inadequate feeding.

A striking evidence of the association of underfeeding and mental
dulness is afforded by the coincidence of numbers in the two classes
wherever careful, expert investigations have been made. More than twenty
years ago, as a result of some discussion upon the subject in the House
of Commons, Dr. Crichton-Browne, the famous English authority upon
mental diseases, prepared, at the request of the then vice-president of
the Committee of Council on Education, Mr. Mundella, a report upon the
physical and mental condition of the children in the elementary schools
of London.[73] In that report Dr. Crichton-Browne pointed out that
dulness, “sudden failure of intellect and languor of manner,” so
prevalent among poorer children, were generally associated with hunger
and semi-starvation. Later, the British Medical Association appointed a
committee consisting of Drs. Hack Tuke, D. E. Shuttleworth, Fletcher
Beach, and Francis Warner. They visited 14 schools scattered over a wide
area and having a total enrolment of about 5000 children. For the
purposes of examination 809 children were selected, of which number 231
were classed in the report as being mentally dull, and 184 as showing
evident signs of defective nutrition. The report adds, “We do not
suppose that we noted defective nutrition in all cases in which it may
have been present.” Very often the conditions noted are coexistent, so a
careful analysis of the figures was made, with the result that of the
cases of mental dulness 28.50 per cent were found to be among those
reported as suffering from defective nutrition, and the same proportion
of mentally dull included in the cases of defective nutrition.[74] In
the examination of the 7000 New York public school children already
referred to, Dr. Cronin found 650 cases of “bad mentality” and 632 cases
of “bad nutrition.” Similar investigations in several European cities,
notably Turin, Christiania, and Paris, show very similar results.

More conclusive still is the testimony of experience in cases where
school meals have been introduced. In 1883 Mr. Mundella, M.P.,
introducing the education estimates in the House of Commons, described
an experiment which was being carried on in the elementary schools at
Rousden by Sir Henry Peek in the way of providing a cheap, wholesome,
and nutritious midday meal for the children. The cost of the meals was,
according to Mr. Mundella, who spoke from a statement furnished by Sir
Henry Peek himself, less than two and a half cents per meal, five meals
costing twelve cents. The school inspectors testified that the results
had been eminently satisfactory “both from a physical and educational
point of view.” The meals proved to be an incentive to more regular
attendance and, by providing the children with the requisite stamina,
increased their mental efficiency, the result being an increased average
of passes in the government examination upon which the governmental
grants-in-aid were based.[75] In the following year, 1884, Mr. Jonathan
Taylor, a prominent member of the Social Democratic Federation, induced
the Sheffield School Board to introduce a system of providing cheap
school dinners. It was found that a good, substantial meal, which Mr.
Taylor describes as “sufficient in quantity and excellent in quality,
and forming such a dinner as satisfies myself, and which the teachers in
the schools are in the habit of partaking of along with the children,”
could be provided at a cost of less than two cents per capita, that sum
including the cost of fuel, cook’s wages, and other working expenses.
While, as the committee in charge reported to the school board, it was
soon found that there were a large number of children who could not
afford even two cents for a meal, the results of the experiment speedily
manifested themselves in a marked physical and mental improvement in the
children. It was particularly demonstrated that children who were
formerly dull and backward showed much improvement in their work after
they had partaken regularly of the school dinners for a short time.[76]
During the twenty years which have elapsed since these initial
experiments were made, many similar schemes have been introduced in
British schools, and in every case so far as I have been able to
ascertain the facts, there has been a marked improvement in the physical
and mental condition of the children affected.

Mrs. Humphry Ward has given a most interesting account of an experiment
in a “Special School for Defectives” at Tavistock Place, London, the
pioneer school of its kind in London. That it is a special school for
physically defective children does not detract from the importance of
the results noted. For some time there had been an arrangement whereby
the children were provided with a midday meal for which their parents
were charged three cents a day, the deficit being met by the managers
from the school fund. Complaint was made by some of the visitors
interested in the experiment that the meals were not good enough, not
sufficiently nourishing for children of that class, and the managers
were prevailed upon to improve the dietary to a considerable extent.
Mrs. Ward says: “The experiment of a more liberal and varied diet was
tried. More hot meat, more eggs, milk, cream, vegetables, and fruit were
given. In consequence the children’s appetites largely increased, and
the expense naturally increased with them. The children’s pence in May
amounted to £3 13_s._ 6_d._ ($17.64), and the cost of the food was £4
7_s._ 2_d._ ($20.92); in June, after the more liberal scale had been
adopted, the children’s payments were still £3 13_s._ 10_d._ ($17.72),
but the expenses had risen to £5 7_s._ 8_d._ ($25.84). Meanwhile the
physical and mental results of the increased expenditure are already
unmistakable. Partially paralyzed children have been recovering strength
in hands and limbs with greater rapidity than before.... The effect,
indeed, is startling to those who have watched the experiment.
Meanwhile, the teachers have entered in the log-book of the school their
testimony to the increased power of work that the children have been
showing since the new feeding has been adopted. Hardly any child now
wants to lie down during school time, whereas applications to lie down
used to be common; and the children _both learn and remember
better_.”[77]

In Birmingham, England, a voluntary organization started by the chairman
of the School Board, Mr. George Dixon, provides meals during the winter
months for something like 2500 children. This committee provides a
dinner, absolutely free of cost to the child, consisting principally of
lentil soup and bread and jam. The cost to the organization, according
to Dr. Airy, H.M.I., who gave testimony before the Inter-Departmental
Committee,[78] is less than one cent per meal inclusive, the manager’s
present salary being $500 per year. Formerly it was $750, but he
voluntarily accepted the reduction to $500 when subscriptions began to
fall off. Dr. Airy explained to the committee that the 2500 children
thus fed by this charity constitute about 2½ per cent of the child
population of the entire city. No attempt whatever is made to deal with
any children except those who are known to be “practically starving,”
the far larger number of children who, while being underfed and
seriously so, still get some sort of food, enough to keep them from
absolute destitution, being in no way provided for. One reason for the
low standard of meals given is the desire of the committee to make them
as unattractive as possible, so that few children will eat the dinners
except absolutely forced by sheer hunger. Another reason I give in full
from the “minutes of evidence” because of its bearing upon a phase of
the problem already noted. Dr. Airy was asked concerning the lentil
soup, “Is there any animal stock in it?” and replied: “Yes, there is a
certain amount, but not very much. It has been found by incessant
experiment—because this is an experimental business year by year—that
lentil soup was the best. _A starving child cannot take anything good;
its stomach rejects it at once. We gave far too good soup at first. It
had to be found out by experiment what they would stand._”[79] There is
another charity in Birmingham which provides breakfasts of bread and
cocoa and milk to practically the same class of destitute children.
Several teachers and others connected with educational work in
Birmingham have, in response to my inquiries, assured me that
notwithstanding the fact that the quality of meals given is so poor, and
that only the very lowest class of children is touched by the charity,
there has been a marked improvement in the mental capacity of the
children. One of the teachers, in a personal letter, says: “Of course, I
have no means of proving it statistically for you; our facilities for
child study do not include any system of individual record books, by
which method alone, it seems to me, could statistical data be gathered.
But I know personally several children who have been in my own class in
whom the mental improvement consequent upon their improved diet has been
most marked. If observation counts for anything at all, and I suppose it
does, I have no hesitation in saying that the mental improvement in a
large number of children has been simply marvellous.”

In Norway it has been for several years the custom of the school
authorities in several municipalities to provide, free of charge, a good
dinner for all school children who care to avail themselves of it. The
dinners are prepared in a central kitchen-station and sent out in boxes
to the various schools, special appliances being used to keep the meals
hot. The dinners consist usually of soup, porridge, meat, vegetables,
and bread for the ordinary children, and a special dietary for weak,
sick, or defective children.[80] This system of free dinners was
introduced as a result of a series of experiments made in Christiania.
It was found that the number of backward, dull children who came from
the poorer districts was much higher than elsewhere, and that they were,
as a rule, inferior in physical development. So great was the progress
made by the children in several classes in which the experiment of
giving them one good meal each day was tried that the school authorities
were induced to introduce the system generally into the schools. A
member of the Municipal Council of Trondhjem says, speaking of the free
school dinner system, “Norway now interprets civilization to mean that
society must conspire to save its children from the hostile forces of
unequal economic conditions, and to secure for them equal opportunities
and helpful conditions for the development of their highest and best
gifts.”

As a result of a careful study of the problem of how best to deal with
the backward child, and a comparison of her own observations with those
of teachers and others in Norway and France (where the _cantines
scolaires_ have been attended with results very similar to those
attained in Norway), a New York teacher in charge of a large class of
such children decided to try the experiment of feeding them.[81] “To
build up their intellects is the task we have to accomplish,” she said
to the writer, “and I have found that that can best be done through
building up their bodies first and so securing a decent physical basis
to work upon.” The children contribute a cent each per day to a fund
administered by the teacher, who provides each child with a cup of warm
milk every morning in the middle of the session. Should any child for
any reason be unable to contribute its share, it is not deprived of the
milk on that account, the small deficit being made up out of the
teacher’s own purse. In addition to the milk the children get such of
the products of the cooking classes as are suitable for them, three days
a week. It is a small experiment, too small indeed to justify any
sweeping generalization from it, but it is nevertheless important in
that it confirms fully the experience of foreign investigators that a
very large proportion of the children who are mentally dull need only to
be properly fed in order to enable their minds to develop normally.

[Illustration:

  “FRESH AIR FUND” CHILDREN FROM CITY TENEMENTS ENJOYING LIFE IN THE
    COUNTRY
]

A somewhat similar method of feeding the children has been tried for
three years at Speyer School, the practice and experimental school of
Teachers College, Columbia University.[82] The children of the lower
grades are supplied with milk and crackers at ten o’clock in the
morning, and “the teachers are unanimous in the statement that the
children are all happier and more able to work” in consequence of being
fed. These various experiments demonstrate beyond question that
underfeeding is responsible for much of the mental degeneracy among
school children and the resulting failure of so many of them to profit
by the education which we provide for them. More than that, they point
unerringly to the remedy.


                                   XI

Summarizing, briefly, the results of this investigation, the problem of
poverty as it affects school children may be stated in a few lines. All
the data available tend to show that not less than 2,000,000 children of
school age in the United States are the victims of poverty which denies
them common necessities, particularly adequate nourishment. As a result
of this privation they are far inferior in physical development to their
more fortunate fellows. This inferiority of physique, in turn, is
responsible for much mental and moral degeneration. Such children are in
very many cases incapable of successful mental effort, and much of our
national expenditure for education is in consequence an absolute waste.
With their enfeebled bodies and minds we turn these children adrift
unfitted for the struggle of life, which tends to become keener with
every advance in our industrial development, and because of their lack
of physical and mental training they are found to be inefficient
industrially and dangerous socially. They become dependent, paupers, and
the procreators of a pauper and dependent race.

Here, then, is a problem of awful magnitude. In the richest country on
earth hundreds of thousands of children are literally damned to
lifelong, helpless, and debasing poverty. They are plunged in the
earliest and most important years of character formation into that
terrible maelstrom of poverty which casts so many thousands, ay,
millions, of physical, mental, and moral wrecks upon the shores of our
social life. For them there is little or no hope of escape from the
blight and curse of pauperism unless the nation, pursuing a policy of
enlightened self-interest and protection, decides to save them. In the
main, this vast sum of poverty is due to causes of a purely impersonal
nature which the victims cannot control, such as sickness, accident, low
wages, and unemployment. Personal causes, such as ignorance,
thriftlessness, gambling, intemperance, indolence, wife-desertion, and
other vices or weaknesses, are also responsible for a good deal of
poverty, though by no means most of it as is sometimes urged by
superficial observers. There are many thousands of temperate and
industrious workers who are miserably poor, and many of those who are
thriftless or intemperate are the victims of poverty’s degenerating
influences.[83] But whether a child’s hunger and privation is due to
some fault of its parents or to causes beyond their control, the fact of
its suffering remains, and its impaired physical and mental strength
tends almost irresistibly to make it inefficient as a citizen. Whatever
the cause, therefore, of its privation, society must, as a measure of
self-protection, take upon itself the responsibility of caring for the
child.

There can be no compromise upon this vital point. Those who say that
society should refuse to do anything for those children who are the
victims of their parents’ vices or weaknesses adopt a singularly
indefensible attitude. In the first place it is barbarously unjust to
allow the sins of the parents to bring punishment and suffering upon the
child, to damn the innocent and unoffending. No more vicious doctrine
than this, which so many excellent and well-intentioned persons are fond
of preaching, has ever been formulated by human perversity. Carried to
its logical end, it would destroy all legislation for the protection of
children from cruel parents or guardians. It is strange that the
doctrinaire advocates of this brutal gospel should overlook its
practical consequences. If discrimination were to be made at all, it
should be in favor of, rather than against, the children of drunken and
profligate parents. For these children have a special claim upon society
for protection from wrongs in the shape of influences injurious to their
physical and moral well-being, and tending to lead them into evil and
degrading ways. The half-starved child of the inebriate is not less
entitled to the protection of society than the victim of inhuman
physical torture.

Should these children be excluded from any system of feeding adopted by
the state upon the ground that their parents have not fulfilled their
parental responsibilities, society joins in a conspiracy against their
very lives. And that conspiracy ultimately and inevitably involves
retribution. In the interests and name of a beguiling economy, fearful
that if it assumes responsibility for the care of the child of inebriate
parents, it will foster and encourage their inebriety and neglect,
society leaves the children surrounded by circumstances which
practically force them to become drunkards, physical and moral wrecks,
and procreators of a like degenerate progeny. _Then_ it is forced to
accept the responsibility of their support, either as paupers or
criminals. That is the stern Nemesis of retribution. Where an
enlightened system of child saving has been followed, this principle has
been clearly recognized. In Minnesota, for example, the state assumes
the responsibility for the care of such children as a matter of
self-protection. To quote the language of a report of the State Public
School at Owatonna: “It is for economic as well as for humane reasons
that this work is done. The state is thus protecting itself from dangers
to which it would be exposed in a very few years if these children were
reared in the conditions which so injuriously affect them.”[84] Whatever
steps may be taken to punish, or make responsible to the state, those
parents who by their vice and neglect bring suffering and want upon
their children, the children themselves should be saved.

To the contention that society, having assumed the responsibility of
insisting that every child shall be educated, and providing the means of
education, is necessarily bound to assume the responsibility of seeing
that they are made fit to receive that education, so far as possible,
there does not seem to be any convincing answer. It will be objected
that for society to do this would mean the destruction of the
responsibility of the parents. That is obviously true. But it is equally
true of education itself, the responsibility for which society has
assumed. Some individualists there are who contend that society is wrong
in doing this, and their opposition to the proposal that it should
undertake to provide the children with food is far more logical than
that of those who believe that society should assume the responsibility
of educating the child, but not that of equipping it with the necessary
physical basis for that education. The fact is that society insists upon
the education of the children, not, primarily, in their interests nor in
the interests of the parents, but in its own. All legislation upon child
labor, education, child guardianship in general, is based upon a denial
of proprietary rights to children by their parents. The child belongs to
society rather than to its parents.

Further, private charity, which is the only alternative suggestion
offered for the solution of this problem, equally removes responsibility
from the parents and is open to other weightier objections. In the first
place, where it succeeds, it is far more demoralizing than such a system
of public support provided at the public cost, as the child’s
birthright, could possibly be. Still more important is the fact that
private charity does not succeed in the vast majority of instances. To
their credit, it must be remembered that the poor as a class refuse to
beg or to parade their poverty. They suffer in silence and never seek
alms. Pride and the shame of begging seal their lips. Here, too, the
question of the children of inebriate, dissolute, worthless parents
enters. Every one who has had the least experience of charitable work
knows that these are the persons who are most relieved by charity. They
do not hesitate to plead for charity. “I have not strength to dig; to
beg I am ashamed,” is the motto of the self-respecting, silent,
suffering poor. The failure of charity is incontestable. As some witty
Frenchman has well said, “Charity creates one-half the misery she
relieves, but cannot relieve one-half the misery she creates.”

It is impossible to enter here into a discussion of the question of
cost, but the argument that society could not afford to undertake this
further responsibility must be briefly considered. In view of our
well-nigh boundless resources there is small reason for the belief that
we cannot provide for the needs of all our children. If it were true
that we could not provide for their necessities, then wholesale death
would be merciful and desirable. At any rate, it would be far better to
feed them first, neglecting their education altogether, than to waste
our substance in the brutally senseless endeavor to educate them while
they starve and pine for bread. There can be little doubt that the
economic waste involved in fruitless charity, and the still vaster waste
involved in the maintenance of the dependent and criminal classes whose
degeneracy is mainly attributable to underfeeding in childhood, amount
to a sum far exceeding the cost of providing adequate nutrition for
every child. It is essentially a question of the proper adjustment of
our means to our needs. Otherwise we must admit the utter failure of our
civilization and confess that, in the language of Sophocles, it is

                   “Happiest beyond compare
                     Never to taste of life;
                   Happiest in order next,
                     Being born, with quickest speed
                   Thither again to turn
                     From whence we came.”[D]

[Illustration:

  COMMUNAL SCHOOL KITCHEN, WHERE THE SCHOOL MEALS ARE PREPARED,
    CHRISTIANIA, NORWAY
]

-----

Footnote D:

  _Œdipus Coloneus._



                                  III
                           THE WORKING CHILD

     “In this boasted land of freedom there are bonded baby slaves,
     And the busy world goes by and does not heed.
     They are driven to the mill, just to glut and overfill
     Bursting coffers of the mighty monarch, Greed.
     When they perish we are told it is God’s will,
     Oh, the roaring of the mill, of the mill!”
                                 —ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.


                                   I

It is a startling and suggestive fact that the very force which
Aristotle, the profoundest thinker of antiquity, regarded as the only
agency through which the abolition of slavery might be made possible,
served, when at last it was evolved, not to destroy slavery, but to
extend it; to enslave in a new form of bondage those who hitherto had
been free. Aristotle regarded slavery as a basic institution and saw no
possible means whereby it might ever be dispensed with, “except perhaps
by the aid of machines.” He said, “If every tool ... could do the work
that befits it, just as the creations of Dædalus moved of themselves, or
the tripods of Hephæstos went of their own accord; if the weavers’
shuttles were to weave of themselves, then there would be no need of
apprentices for the master workers, or slaves for the lords.”[85] When
more than two thousand years had passed, a machine, a wonderful, complex
tool, almost literally fulfilling his conditions, was invented.

We speak of the power-loom as Cartwright’s invention, but in truth it
was the joint production of numberless inventors, most of them unknown
to history, and some of whom lived and labored long before Aristotle sat
at Plato’s feet in the great school at Athens. Looking at a modern
power-loom in one of our great factories not long ago, I asked the name
of the inventor, which was readily enough given. But as I watched the
marvellous mechanism with its many wheels, levers, and springs, I
wondered how much of it could be said to have had its origin in the
brain of the inventor in question. Who invented the wheel, the lever,
the spring? Who invented the first rude loom, reproduced, in principle,
in the wonderful looms of the twentieth century? No man knows. We do not
know the name of the inventor of the loom figured in all its details
upon the tomb of the ancient Egyptian at Beni Hassan;[86] we do not know
who invented the loom which the Greek vase of 400 B.C. depicts,—a loom
which, so William Morris tells us, is in all respects like those in use
in Iceland and the Faroe Islands in the latter half of the nineteenth
century.[87] Many thousands of years ago, in the simple tribal communism
of primitive man, the great bed-rock inventions were evolved. Thousands
of years of human experience led up to the ribbon-loom which, in the
early part of the sixteenth century, brought sentence of death upon the
poor inventor of Danzig[88] whose very name has been forgotten. This
ribbon-loom was a near approach to the wonderful tool of which Aristotle
dreamed as the liberator of enslaved man.

The work of improvement went on, and the power-loom came; “weavers’
shuttles were to weave of themselves” in a well-nigh literal sense. The
great machine tool became an accomplished fact. It had been forged upon
the anvil of human necessity through countless centuries. But the
revolution it wrought, or, rather, the revolution of which it was the
expression, was not a revolution of liberation. A hundred and twenty
years have elapsed since then, and still the prophecy of freedom has not
been fulfilled; there are still “slaves for the lords.”

              “Fast and faster, our iron master,
              The thing we made, for ever drives,
              Bids us grind treasure and fashion pleasure,
              For other hopes and other lives.”

Children have always worked, but it is only since the reign of the
machine that their work has been synonymous with slavery. Under the old
form of simple, domestic industry even the very young children were
assigned their share of the work in the family. But this form of child
labor was a good and wholesome thing. There may have been abuses;
children may have suffered from the ignorance, cupidity, and brutality
of fathers and mothers, but in the main the child’s share in the work of
the family was a good thing. In the first place, the child was
associated in its work with one or both of its parents, and thus kept
under all those influences which we deem of most worth, the influences
of home and parental care. Secondly, the work of the child constituted a
major part of its education. And it was no mean education, either, which
gave the world generation after generation of glorious craftsmen. The
seventeenth-century glass-blower of Venice or Murano, for instance,
learned his craft from his father in this manner, and in turn taught it
to his son. There was a bond of interest between them; a parental pride
and interest on the part of the father infinitely greater and more
potent for good than any commercial relation would have allowed. On the
part of the child, too, there was a filial pride and devotion which
found its expression in a spirit of emulation, the spirit out of which
all the rich glory of that wonderfully rich craft was born. So, too, it
was with the potters of ancient Greece, and with the tapestry weavers of
fourteenth-century France. In the golden age of the craftsman, child
labor was child training in the noblest and best sense. The training of
hand and heart and brain was the end achieved, even where it was not the
sole purpose of the child’s labor.

But with the coming of the machine age all this was changed. The
craftsman was supplanted by the tireless, soulless machine. The child
still worked, but in a great factory throbbing with the vibration of
swift, intricate machines. In place of parental interest and affection
there was the harsh, pitiless authority of an employer or his agent,
looking, not to the child’s well-being and skill as an artificer, but to
the supplying of a great, ever widening market for cash gain.

It is not without its significance that the ribbon-loom which in the
latter part of the seventeenth century caused the workmen of England to
riot, the same machine which, later, was publicly burnt in Hamburg by
order of the Senate, should have been described as “enabling a totally
inexperienced boy” to set the whole loom with all its shuttles in
motion, “by simply moving a rod backwards and forwards.”[89] It was as
though the new mechanical invention had been designed with the express
purpose of laying the burden of the world’s work upon child shoulders;
as though some evil genius had deliberately contrived that the nation of
progress should

            “—Stand, to move the world, on a child’s heart.”


                                   II

There is no more terrible page in history than that which records the
enslavement of mere babies by the industrial revolution of the
eighteenth century in England. Not even the crucifixion of twenty
thousand slaves along the highways by Scipio excels it in horror.

Writing in 1795, Dr. Aikin gives a vivid account of the evils which had
already been introduced in the factory districts by the new system of
manufacture.[90] He mentions the destruction of the best features of
home life, the spread of filth, thriftlessness, poverty, and disease,
and says that the demand for “children for the cotton mills” had become
very great. To get children for the cotton mills was not easy at first.
Parental love and pride were ranged against the new system, denying its
demands. Accustomed to the old domestic system, the association of all
the members of the family in manufacture as part of the domestic life,
they regarded the new industrial forms with repugnance. It was
considered a degradation for a child to be sent into the factories,
especially for a girl, whose whole life would be blasted thereby. The
term “factory girl” was an insulting epithet, and the young woman who
bore it could not hope for other, better employment, nor yet for
marriage with any but the very lowest and despised of men. Not till they
were forced by sheer hunger and misery, through the reduction of wages
to the level of starvation, could the respectable workers be induced to
send their children into the factories. In the meantime they made war
upon the “iron men,” as the machines were called, but of course in vain.
To such a conflict there could be only one end,—human beings of flesh
and blood could not prevail against the iron monsters, their
competitors.

But the manufacturers wanted children, and they got them from the
workhouses. It was not difficult to persuade Bumbledom to get rid of its
pauper children, especially when its conscience was salved by the
specious pretext that the children were to be taught new trades, as
apprentices. “Alfred,” the anonymous author of the _History of the
Factory Movement_,[91] gives a thrilling description of the horrible
inhumanity and wickedness of this practice of sending parish
apprentices, “without remorse or inquiry, to be _used up_ as the
cheapest raw material in the market.” The mill owners would first
communicate with the overseers of the poor, and the latter would fix
suitable dates for the manufacturers or their agents to examine the
children. Those chosen were then conveyed to their destination, closely
packed in wagons or canal-boats. Thenceforth they were doomed to the
most miserable slavery. A class of “traffickers” in child slaves arose.
These men made a profitable business of supplying children to the
manufacturers. They deposited their victims in dark, dank cellars, where
the sales to the manufacturers or their agents were made. “The mill
owners, by the light of lanterns being able to examine the children,
their limbs and stature having undergone the necessary scrutiny, the
bargain was struck, and these poor innocents were conveyed to the
mills.” Their plight was appalling. They received no wages, and they
were so cheap, their places so easily filled, that the mill owners did
not even take the trouble to give them decent food or clothing. “In
stench, in heated rooms, amid the whirling of a thousand wheels, little
fingers and little feet were kept in ceaseless action, forced into
unnatural activity by blows from the heavy hands and feet of the
merciless overlooker, and the infliction of bodily pain by instruments
of punishment invented by the sharpened ingenuity of insatiable
selfishness.”

[Illustration:

  NEW YORK CELLAR PRISONERS

  These children were found by Settlement Workers in New York City.
    Illegally employed, they were never
  allowed to go out of doors, their only recreation being taken in a
    dark, filthy cellar.
]

Robert Blincoe, himself an apprentice who, at seven years of age, was
sent from a London workhouse to a cotton mill near Nottingham, gives a
harrowing but well-authenticated account of actual experience.[92] He
tells how the apprentices used to be fed upon the same coarse food as
that given to the master’s pigs, and how he and his fellow-victims used
joyfully to say when they saw the swine being fed, “The pigs are served;
it will be our turn next.” ... “When the swine were hungry,” he says,
“they used to grunt so loud, they obtained the wash first to quiet them.
The apprentices could be intimidated, and made to keep still.” Blincoe
describes how, for fattening, the pigs were often given meat balls, or
dumplings, in their wash, and how he and the other apprentices who were
kept near the pigsties used to slip away and slyly steal as many of
these dumplings from the pigs as possible, hastening away with them to a
hiding-place, where they were greedily devoured. “The pigs ... learned
from experience to guard their food by various expedients. Made wise by
repeated losses, they kept a sharp lookout, and the moment they
ascertained the approach of the half-famished apprentices, they set up
so loud a chorus of snorts and grunts, it was heard in the kitchen, when
out rushed the swineherd, armed with a whip, from which combined means
of protection for the swine this accidental source of obtaining a good
dinner was soon lost. Such was the contest carried on for some time at
Litton Mill between the half-famished apprentices and the well-fed
swine.”

The children were worked sixteen hours at a stretch, by day and by
night. They slept by turns and relays in beds that were never allowed to
cool, one set being sent to bed as soon as the others had gone to their
toil. Children of both sexes and all ages, from five years upward, were
indiscriminately herded together, with the result that vice and disease
flourished. Sometimes the unfortunate victims would try to run away, and
to prevent this all who were suspected of such a tendency had irons
riveted on their ankles with long links reaching up to their hips. In
these chains they were compelled to work and sleep, young women and
girls as well as boys. Many children contrived to commit suicide, some
were unquestionably beaten to death; the death-rate became so great that
it became the custom to bury the bodies at night, secretly, lest a
popular uprising be provoked.[93]

Worse still, the cupidity of British Bumbledom was aroused, and it
became the custom for overseers of the poor to insist that one imbecile
child at least should be taken by the mill owner, or the trafficker,
with every batch of twenty children. In this manner the parish got rid
of the expense of maintaining its idiot children. What became of these
unhappy idiots will probably never be known, but from the cruel fate of
the children who were sane, we may judge how awful that of the poor
imbeciles must have been.

Even in the one factory of the time which was heralded as a model for
the manufacturers to copy, the mill at New Lanark, Scotland, owned by
Mr. David Dale and afterward made famous by the great and good Robert
Owen, his son-in-law, conditions were, from a twentieth-century point of
view, simply shocking, despite the fact that it was the subject of
glowing praise in the _Annual Register_ for 1792, and that, like some of
our modern factories, it had become generally regarded as a
semi-philanthropic establishment. Robert Owen tells us in his
autobiography that “children were received as early as six years old,
the pauper authorities declining to send them at any later age.” These
little children worked from six in the morning till seven in the
evening, _and after that they were supposed to be educated_! “The poor
children hated their slavery; many absconded; ... at thirteen or fifteen
years old, when their apprenticeship expired, they commonly went off to
Edinburgh or Glasgow, ... altogether admirably trained for swelling the
mass of vice and misery in the towns.[94] And all this while British
philanthropists were agitating the question of negro emancipation, and
raising funds for that object!”

Thanks, mainly, to the agitation of Owen, a movement was begun to
endeavor to improve the lot of these little child slaves. This movement
received a tremendous impetus from the fearful epidemic which, in
1799–1800, spread through the factory districts of Manchester and the
surrounding country. An inquiry into the causes of this epidemic
ascribed it to overwork, scant and poor food, wretched clothing, bad
ventilation, and overcrowding, especially among the children.[95] As a
result the first act for the protection of child workers was passed
through the parliamentary exertions of Sir Robert Peel, himself a master
manufacturer. It was a very small measure of relief which this act
afforded, but it is nevertheless a most important statute to students of
industrial legislation as the “first definitely in restraint of modern
factory labor and in general opposition to the _laissez-faire_ policy in
industry.”[96] It was the first factory act ever passed by the British
Parliament. It placed no limit upon the age at which children might be
employed; it applied only to apprentices, and not to children “under the
supervision of their parents;” it reduced the hours of labor to twelve
per day, and provided for the clothing, instruction, and religious
training of the children. These provisions were clearly a survival of an
industrial system based upon paternal interest and authority.

One immediate effect of the act of 1802 was the practical break-up of
the pauper apprentice system. But it must be remembered that this system
was already outworn, and it is extremely improbable that it would have
continued to any great extent, even if the act of 1802 had not been
passed. It had served its purpose, but was no longer essential to the
manufacturers.[97] Notwithstanding that it introduced a revolutionary
principle, as we have seen, the act excited no opposition from the
manufacturers. The reason for this is not difficult to determine. Wages
had been forced down to the starvation level through the competition of
the pauper apprentices with free, adult labor, with the result that
poverty abounded. Parents were ready now to send their children into the
mills. Hunger had conquered their prejudices—the iron man had triumphed
over human flesh and blood.

It is not my purpose to trace the growth of English legislation against
child labor. This brief historical sketch is introduced for quite
another purpose, to wit, to show the origin of our modern problem of
child slavery and degradation. Suffice it to say, then, that the “free”
children who went into the mills by their parents’ “consent” were almost
as badly off as the pauper apprentices had been. They were treated just
as brutally. Even in 1830, before a meeting of philanthropists and
clergy in Bradford, Richard Oastler, the “King of the Factory Children,”
could hold up an overseer’s whip, saying, “_This_ was hard at work in
this town last week.”[98] And on the 16th of March, 1832, Michael
Sadler, M.P., in moving the second reading of his Ten Hours Bill in the
House of Commons, could say: “Sir, children are beaten with thongs
prepared for the purpose. Yes, the females of this country, no matter
whether children or grown up, I hardly know which is the more disgusting
outrage, are beaten upon the arms, face, and bosom—beaten in your ‘free
market’ of labour, as you term it, like slaves.... These are the
instruments!” (Here, says the report in _Hansard’s Parliamentary
Debates_, the honorable member exhibited some black, heavy leathern
thongs, one of them fixed in a sort of handle, the smack of which, when
struck upon the table, resounded through the House.) “They are quite
equal to breaking an arm, but the bones of the young ... are pliant. The
marks, however, are long visible, and the poor wretch is flogged, I say,
like a dog, by the tyrant overlooker. We speak with execration of the
cart-whip of the West Indies, but let us see this night an equal feeling
against the factory thong of England.”[99] In some memorable verses this
noble parliamentary leader of the movement for factory legislation has
described such a whipping scene. The poem is too long to quote in its
entirety:—

               “‘Father, I’m up, but weary,
               I scarce can reach the door,
               And long the way and dreary—
               Oh, carry me once more!’

               “Her wasted form seemed nothing—
               The load was at his heart,
               The sufferer he kept soothing
               Till at the mill they part.
               The overlooker met her,
               As to her frame she crept,
               And with his thong he beat her
               And cursed her as she wept.

               “All night with tortured feeling,
               He watched his speechless child,
               While, close beside her kneeling,
               She knew him not, nor smiled.
               Again the factory’s ringing
               Her last perceptions tried;
               When, from her straw bed springing,
               ‘Tis time!’ she shrieked, and died!”[100]

A Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to investigate the
grounds of Sadler’s demand for the Ten Hours Bill. From the mass of
evidence of almost unspeakable cruelty, I quote only one brief passage
from the testimony of one Jonathan Downe, himself a mill hand: “Provided
a child should be drowsy (there were plenty working at six years of
age), the overlooker walks around the room with a stick in his hand, and
he touches the child on the shoulder, and says, ‘Come here!’ In the
corner of the room is an iron cistern; it is filled with water; he takes
this boy, and holding him up by his legs, dips him overhead in the
cistern, and sends him to his task for the remainder of the day; and
that boy is to stand dripping as he is at his work—he has no chance of
drying himself.”[101]

Such, then, was child labor at its worst; such the immediate effects of
the introduction of great mechanical inventions which the wisest of the
ancients believed would liberate men from all forms of bondage and
destroy every vestige of slavery,—a hope which for many of us has not
been shattered, even by a century and a quarter of disappointment.
Happily, we in the United States have been practically free from some of
the worst evils of England’s experience, yet it is only too true that we
have to-day a child-labor problem of terrible magnitude, challenging the
heart and brain of the nation to find a solution. We, too, are
permitting the giant “iron men” to enslave our babies. The machine is
our modern Moloch, and we feed it with precious child lives.


                                  III

I am not unmindful of the fact that the presentation of the darkest side
of England’s experience may have the effect of inducing in some minds a
certain spirit of content,—a pharisaical thanksgiving that we are “not
as other men” have been in a past that is not very remote. I accept,
gladly, the issue implied in that attitude. It is no part of my purpose
to discount the social and ethical gains which have resulted from the
struggle against child labor, or to paint in unduly dark colors the
problem as it presents itself to us in the United States to-day. No good
purpose is served by exaggeration; progress is not quickened by denying
the progress that has been made.

[Illustration:

  LITTLE TENEMENT TOILERS

  With the exception of the infant in arms these are all working
    children. They were called away from the
  photographer to go on with their work!
]

The inferno of child torture which the records of nineteenth-century
England picture so vividly has more than historical interest for us. It
was the result of a policy of _laissez faire_ on the part of the
government, and that policy has its advocates in the United States
to-day. In our legislative assemblies, and through the press, able and
earnest men—some of them earnest only in their devotion to Mammon—are
advocating that policy and forever crying out, in the words of the old
physiocrats, “Let alone; the world revolves of itself.” When that cry of
_laissez faire_ is raised, despite the fact that children of four years
are found at work in the canning factories of New York State,[102] and
little girls of five and six years are found working by night in
Southern cotton mills,[103] it is not too much to assume that only a
vigilant and constantly protesting public conscience protects us from
conditions as revolting as any of those experienced in the black night
of England’s orgy of greed. Capital has neither morals nor ideals; its
interests are always and everywhere expressible in terms of cash
profits. Capital in the United States in the twentieth century calls for
children as loudly as it called in England a century ago.

Whatever advance has been made in the direction of the legislative
protection of children from the awful consequences of premature
exploitation, has been made in the face of bitter opposition from the
exploiters. In the New York Legislature, during the session of 1903, the
owners of the canning factories of the state used their utmost power to
have their industry exempted from the humane but inadequate provisions
of the Child Labor Law, notwithstanding that babies four years old were
known to be working in their factories. The Northern owners of Alabama
cotton mills secured the _repeal_ of the law passed in that state in
1887 prohibiting the employment of children under fourteen years of age
for more than eight hours in a day; and when, later, the Alabama Child
Labor Committee sought to secure legislative protection for children up
to twelve years of age, paid agents of the mill owners appeared before
the legislature and persistently opposed their efforts.[104] Similar
testimony might be given from practically every state where any attempt
has been made to legislate against the evil of child labor. Even such a
responsible organ of capitalist opinion as the _Manufacturers’ Record_
editorially denounces all child-labor legislation as wrong and
immoral![105] There are, of course, honorable exceptions, but as a class
the employers of labor are persistent in their opposition to all such
legislation.

According to the census of 1900 there were, in the United States in that
year, 1,752,187 children under sixteen years of age employed in gainful
occupations. Of itself that is a terrible sum, but all authorities are
agreed that it does not fully represent the magnitude of the child-labor
problem. It is well known that many thousands of children are working
under the protection of certificates in which they are falsely
represented as being of the legal age for employment. When a child of
twelve gets a certificate declaring its age to be fifteen, it needs only
to work a year, to be in reality thirteen years old, in order to be
classed as an adult over sixteen years of age. Such certificates have
been, and in many cases still are, ridiculously easy to obtain, it being
only necessary for one of the parents or guardians of a child to swear
before a notary that the child has reached the minimum age required by
law. The result has been the promotion of child slavery and illiteracy
through the wholesale perjury of parents and guardians.[106] I have
known scores of instances in which children ten or eleven years old were
employed through the possession of certificates stating that they were
thirteen or fourteen. I remember asking one little lad his age, in
Pittston, Pennsylvania, during the anthracite coal strike of 1902. He
certainly did not look more than ten years old, but he answered boldly,
“I’m thirteen, sir.” When I asked him how long he had been at work, he
replied, “More’n a year gone, sir.” Afterward I met his father at one of
the strikers’ meetings, and he told me that the lad was only a few days
over eleven years of age, and that he went to work as a “breaker boy”
before he was ten. “We’m a big fam’ly,” he said in excuse. “There’s six
kids an’ th’ missis an’ me. Wi’ me pay so small, I was glad to give a
quarter to have the papers (certificate) filled out so’s he could bring
in a trifle like other boys.” Afterward I came across several similar
cases.

That is only one of many reasons for supposing that the census figures
do not adequately represent the extent to which child labor prevails.
Another is the tremendous number of children of school age, and below
the age at which they may be legally employed, who do not attend school.
In New York State, for instance, there were more than 76,000 children
between the ages of ten and fourteen years who were out of school during
the whole of the twelve months covered by the census of 1900, and nearly
16,000 more in the same age period who attended school less than five
months in the year.[107] Careful investigation in Philadelphia showed
that in one year, “after deducting those physically unable to attend
school, 16,100 children, between the ages of eight and thirteen,” were
out of school, and a similar condition is reported to exist throughout
the whole of Pennsylvania.[108] The Child Labor Committee of
Pennsylvania gives a list of nearly one hundred different kinds of work
at which children between the ages of eight and thirteen were found to
be employed in Philadelphia alone. In practically every industrial
centre this margin of children of school age and below the legal age for
employment, who do not attend school, exists. It is impossible for any
one who is at all conversant with the facts to resist the conclusion
that, after making all possible allowances for other causes, by far the
larger part of these absentees are at work. Thousands find employment in
factories and stores; others find employment in some of the many street
trades, selling newspapers, peddling, running errands for small
storekeepers, and the like. Many others are not “employed” in the strict
sense of the word at all, because they work in their homes, assisting
their parents. Their condition is generally much worse than that of the
children regularly employed in factories and workshops. In excluding
them the census figures omit a very large class of child workers who are
the victims of the worst conditions of all. I am convinced that the
number of children under _fifteen_ years of age who work is much larger
than the official figures give, notwithstanding that these are supposed
to give the number of all workers under _sixteen_ years of age. It
would, I think, be quite within the mark to say that the number of child
workers under fifteen is at least 2,250,000.

From the point of view of the sociologist an accurate statistical
measure of the child-labor problem would be a most valuable gain, but to
most people such figures mean very little. If they could only see the
human units represented by the figures, it would be different. If they
could only see in one vast, suffering throng as many children as there
are men, women, and children in the state of New Jersey, they would be
able to appreciate some of the meaning of the census figures. Even so,
they would have only a vivid sense of the magnitude of such a number as
1,752,000; they would still have no idea of the awful physical, mental,
and moral wreckage hidden in the lifeless and dumb figures. If it were
only possible to take the consumptive cough of one child textile worker
with lint-clogged lungs, and to multiply its volume by tens of
thousands; to gather into one single compass the fevers that burn in
thousands of child toilers’ bodies, so that we might visualize the Great
White Plague’s relation to child labor, the nation would surely rise as
one man and put an end to the destruction of children for profit. If all
the people of this great republic could see little Anetta Fachini, four
years old, working with her mother making artificial flowers, as I saw
her in her squalid tenement home at eleven o’clock at night, I think the
impression upon their hearts and minds would be far deeper and more
lasting than any that whole pages of figures could make. The frail
little thing was winding green paper around wires to make stems for
artificial flowers to decorate ladies’ hats. Every few minutes her head
would droop and her weary eyelids close, but her little fingers still
kept moving—uselessly, helplessly, mechanically moving. Then the mother
would shake her gently, saying: “_Non dormire, Anetta! Solamente pochi
altri—solamente pochi altri._” (“Sleep not, Anetta! Only a few more—only
a few more.”)

[Illustration:

  JUVENILE TEXTILE WORKERS ON STRIKE IN PHILADELPHIA
]

And the little eyes would open slowly and the tired fingers once more
move with intelligent direction and purpose.

Some years ago, in one of the mean streets of Paris, I saw, in a dingy
window, a picture that stamped itself indelibly upon my memory. It was
not, judged by artistic canons, a great picture; on the contrary, it was
crude and ill drawn and might almost have been the work of a child.
Torn, I think, from the pages of the Anarchist paper _La Revolté_, it
was, perchance, a protest drawn from the very soul of some indignant
worker. A woman, haggard and fierce of visage, representing France, was
seated upon a heap of child skulls and bones. In her gnarled and knotted
hands she held the writhing form of a helpless babe whose flesh she was
gnawing with her teeth. Underneath, in red ink, was written in rude
characters, “The wretch! She devours her own children!” My mind goes
back to that picture: it is literally true to-day, that this great
nation in its commercial madness devours its babes.


                                   IV

The textile industries rank first in the enslavement of children. In the
cotton trade, for example, 13.3 per cent of all persons employed
throughout the United States are under sixteen years of age.[109] In the
Southern states, where the evil appears at its worst, so far as the
textile trades are concerned, the proportion of employees under sixteen
years of age in 1900 was 25.1 per cent, in Alabama the proportion was
nearly 30 per cent. A careful estimate made in 1902 placed the number of
cotton-mill operatives under sixteen years of age in the Southern states
at 50,000. At the beginning of 1903 a very conservative estimate placed
the number of children under fourteen employed in the cotton mills of
the South at 30,000, no less than 20,000 of them being under
twelve.[110] If this latter estimate of 20,000 children under twelve is
to be relied upon, it is evident that the total number under fourteen
must have been much larger than 30,000. According to Mr. McKelway, one
of the most competent authorities in the country, there are at the
present time not less than 60,000 children under fourteen employed in
the cotton mills of the Southern states.[111] Miss Jane Addams tells of
finding a child of five years working by night in a South Carolina
mill;[112] Mr. Edward Gardner Murphy has photographed little children of
six and seven years who were at work for twelve and thirteen hours a day
in Alabama mills.[113] In Columbia, S.C., and Montgomery, Ala., I have
seen hundreds of children, who did not appear to be more than nine or
ten years of age, at work in the mills, by night as well as by day.

The industrial revival in the South from the stagnation consequent upon
the Civil War has been attended by the growth of a system of child
slavery almost as bad as that which attended the industrial revolution
in England a century ago. From 1880 to 1900 the value of the products of
Southern manufactures increased from less than $458,000,000 to
$1,463,000,000—an increase of 220 per cent. Many factors contributed to
that immense industrial development of the South, but, according to a
well-known expert,[114] it is due “chiefly to her supplies of tractable
and cheap labor.” During the same period of twenty years in the cotton
mills outside of the South, the proportion of workers under sixteen
years of age decreased from 15.6 per cent to 7.7 per cent, but in the
South it remained at approximately 25 per cent. It is true that the
terrible pauper apprentice system which forms such a tragic chapter in
the history of the English factory movement has not been introduced; yet
the fate of the children of the poor families from the hill districts
who have been drawn into the vortex of this industrial development is
almost as bad as that of the English pauper children. These “poor
whites,” as they are expressively called, even by their negro neighbors,
have for many years eked out a scanty living upon their farms, all the
members of the family uniting in the struggle against niggardly nature.
Drawn into the current of the new industrial order, they do not realize
that, even though the children worked harder upon the farms than they do
in the mills, there is an immense difference between the dust-laden air
of a factory and the pure air of a farm; between the varied tasks of
farm life with the endless opportunities for change and individual
initiative, and the strained attention and monotonous tasks of mill
life. The lot of the pauper children driven into the mills by the
ignorance and avarice of British Bumbledom was little worse than that of
these poor children, who work while their fathers loaf. During the long,
weary nights many children have to be kept awake by having cold water
dashed on their faces, and when morning comes they throw themselves upon
their beds—often still warm from the bodies of their brothers and
sisters—without taking off their clothing. “When I works nights, I’se
too tired to undress when I gits home, an’ so I goes to bed wif me clo’s
on me,” lisped one little girl in Augusta, Ga.

There are more than 80,000 children employed in the textile industries
of the United States, according to the very incomplete census returns,
most of them being little girls. In these industries conditions are
undoubtedly worse in the Southern states than elsewhere, though I have
witnessed many pitiable cases of child slavery in Northern mills which
equalled almost anything I have ever seen in the South. During the
Philadelphia textile workers’ strike in 1903, I saw at least a score of
children ranging from eight to ten years of age who had been working in
the mills prior to the strike. One little girl of nine I saw in the
Kensington Labor Lyceum. She had been working for almost a year before
the strike began, she said, and careful inquiry proved her story to be
true. When “Mother” Mary Jones started with her little “army” of child
toilers to march to Oyster Bay, in order that the President of the
United States might see for himself some of the little ones who had
actually been employed in the mills of Philadelphia, I happened to be
engaged in assisting the strikers. For two days I accompanied the little
“army” on its march, and thus had an excellent opportunity of studying
the children. Amongst them were several from eight to eleven years of
age, and I remember one little girl who was not quite eleven telling me
with pride that she had “worked two years and never missed a day.”

One evening, not long ago, I stood outside of a large flax mill in
Paterson, N.J., while it disgorged its crowd of men, women, and children
employees. All the afternoon, as I lingered in the tenement district
near the mills, the comparative silence of the streets oppressed me.
There were many babies and very small children, but the older children,
whose boisterous play one expects in such streets, were wanting. “If
thow’lt bide till th’ mills shut for th’ day, thow’lt see plenty on
’em—big kids as plenty as small taties,” said one old woman to whom I
spoke about it. She was right. At six o’clock the whistles shrieked, and
the streets were suddenly filled with people, many of them mere
children. Of all the crowd of tired, pallid, and languid-looking
children I could only get speech with one, a little girl who claimed
thirteen years, though she was smaller than many a child of ten. Indeed,
as I think of her now, I doubt whether she would have come up to the
standard of normal physical development either in weight or stature for
a child of ten. One learns, however, not to judge the ages of working
children by their physical appearance, for they are usually behind other
children in height, weight, and girth of chest,—often as much as two or
three years. If my little Paterson friend was thirteen, perhaps the
nature of her employment will explain her puny, stunted body. She works
in the “steaming room” of the flax mill. All day long, in a room filled
with clouds of steam, she has to stand barefooted in pools of water
twisting coils of wet hemp. When I saw her she was dripping wet, though
she said that she had worn a rubber apron all day. In the coldest
evenings of winter little Marie, and hundreds of other little girls,
must go out from the super-heated steaming rooms into the bitter cold in
just that condition. No wonder that such children are stunted and
underdeveloped!

In textile mill towns like Biddeford, Me., Manchester, N.H., Fall River
and Lawrence, Mass., I have seen many such children, who, if they were
twelve or fourteen according to their certificates and the companies’
registers, were not more than ten or twelve in reality. I have watched
them hurrying into and away from the mills, “those receptacles, in too
many instances, for living human skeletons, almost disrobed of
intellect,” as Robert Owen’s burning phrase describes them.[115] I do
not doubt that, upon the whole, conditions in the textile industries are
better in the North than in the South, but they are nevertheless too bad
to permit of self-righteous boasting and complacency. And in several
other departments of industry conditions are no whit better in the North
than in the South. The child-labor problem is not sectional, but
national.


                                   V

Of the fifteen divisions of the manufacturing industries, the glass
factories rank next to the textile factories in the number of children
they employ. In the year 1900, according to the census returns, the
average number of workers employed in glass manufacture was 52,818, of
which number 3529, or 6.88 per cent, were women, and 7116, or 13.45 per
cent, were children under sixteen years of age. It will be noticed that
the percentage of children employed is about the same as in the textile
trades. There are glass factories in many states, but the bulk of the
industry is centred in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, and Ohio. The
total value of the products of the glass industry in the United States
in 1900 was $56,539,712, of which amount the four states named
contributed $46,209,918, or 82.91 per cent of the entire value.[116]
After careful investigation in a majority of the places where glass is
manufactured in these four states, I am confident that the number of
children employed is much larger than the census figures indicate.

Perhaps in none of the great industries is the failure to enforce the
child-labor laws more general or complete than in the glass trade. There
are several reasons for this, the most important, perhaps, being the
distribution of the factories in small towns and rural districts, and
the shifting nature of the industry itself. Fuel is the most important
item in the cost of materials in the manufacture of glass, and the aim
of the manufacturers is always to locate in districts where fuel is
cheap and abundant. For this reason Pennsylvania has always ranked first
in the list of glass-manufacturing states. Owing, mainly, to the
discoveries of new supplies of natural gas in Indiana, the glass
products of that state increased fourfold in value from 1890 to
1900.[117] When the supply of gas in a certain locality becomes
exhausted, it is customary to remove the factories to more favorable
places. A few rough wooden sheds are hastily built in the neighborhood
of some good gas supplies, only to be torn down again as soon as these
fail. Hence it happens that glass factories bring new industrial life
into small towns and villages, which soon become to a very large extent
dependent upon them. Almost unconsciously a feeling is developed that,
“for the good of the town,” it will scarcely do to antagonize the glass
manufacturers. I have heard this sentiment voiced by business men and
others in several places. On the other hand, the manufacturers feel the
strength of their position and constantly threaten to remove their
plants if they are interfered with and prevented from getting boys.

I shall never forget my first visit to a glass factory at night. It was
a big wooden structure, so loosely built that it afforded little
protection from draughts, surrounded by a high fence with several rows
of barbed wire stretched across the top. I went with the foreman of the
factory and he explained to me the reason for the stockade-like fence.
“It keeps the young imps inside once we’ve got ’em for the night shift,”
he said. The “young imps” were, of course, the boys employed, about
forty in number, at least ten of whom were less than twelve years of
age. It was a cheap bottle factory, and the proportion of boys to men
was larger than is usual in the higher grades of manufacture. Cheapness
and child labor go together,—the cheaper the grade of manufacture, as a
rule, the cheaper the labor employed. The hours of labor for the “night
shift” were from 5.30 P.M. to 3.30 A.M. I stayed and watched the boys at
their work for several hours, and when their tasks were done saw them
disappear into the darkness and storm of the night. That night, for the
first time, I realized the tragic significance of cheap bottles. One
might well paraphrase Hood’s lines and say:—

                 “They are not bottles you idly break,
                 But human creatures’ lives!”

In the middle of the room was a large round furnace with a number of
small doors, three or four feet from the ground, forming a sort of belt
around the furnace. In front of these doors the glass-blowers were
working. With long wrought-iron blowpipes the blowers deftly took from
the furnace little wads of waxlike molten “metal” which they blew into
balls and then rolled on their rolling boards. These elongated rolls
they dropped into moulds and then blew again, harder than before, to
force the half-shaped mass into its proper form. With a sharp, clicking
sound they broke their pipes away and repeated the whole process. There
was not, of course, the fascination about their work that the more
artistic forms of glass-blowing possess. There was none of that twirling
of the blowpipes till they looked like so many magic wands which for
centuries has made the glass-blower’s art a delightful, half-mysterious
thing to watch. But it was still wonderful to see the exactness of each
man’s “dip,” and the deftness with which they manipulated the balls
before casting them into the moulds.

Then began the work of the boys. By the side of each mould sat a
“take-out boy,” who, with tongs, took the half-finished bottles—not yet
provided with necks—out of the moulds. Then other boys, called
“snapper-ups,” took these bodies of bottles in their tongs and put the
small ends into gas-heated moulds till they were red hot. Then the boys
took them out with almost incredible quickness and passed them to other
men, “finishers,” who shaped the necks of the bottles into their final
form. Then the “carrying-in boys,” sometimes called “carrier pigeons,”
took the red-hot bottles from the benches, three or four at a time, upon
big asbestos shovels to the annealing oven, where they are gradually
cooled off to insure even contraction and to prevent breaking in
consequence of too rapid cooling. The work of these “carrying-in boys,”
several of whom were less than twelve years old, was by far the hardest
of all. They were kept on a slow run all the time from the benches to
the annealing oven and back again. I can readily believe what many
manufacturers assert, that it is difficult to get men to do this work,
because men cannot stand the pace and get tired too quickly. It is a
fact, however, that in many factories men are employed to do this work,
especially at night. In other, more up-to-date factories it is done by
automatic machinery. I did not measure the distance from the benches to
the annealing oven, nor did I count the number of trips made by the
boys, but my friend, Mr. Owen R. Lovejoy, has done so in a typical
factory and very kindly furnished me with the results of his
calculation.[118] The distance to the annealing oven in the factory in
question was one hundred feet, and the boys made seventy-two trips per
hour, making the distance travelled in eight hours nearly twenty-two
miles. Over half of this distance the boys were carrying their hot loads
to the oven. The pay of these boys varies from sixty cents to a dollar
for eight hours’ work. About a year ago I gathered particulars of the
pay of 257 boys in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; the lowest pay was forty
cents per night and the highest a dollar and ten cents, while the
average was seventy-two cents.

[Illustration:

  NIGHT SHIFT IN A GLASS FACTORY
]

In New Jersey, since 1903, the employment of boys under fourteen years
of age is forbidden, but there is no restriction as to night work for
boys of that age. In Pennsylvania boys of fourteen may work by night. In
Ohio night work is prohibited for all under sixteen years of age, but so
far as my personal observations, and the testimony of competent and
reliable observers, enable me to judge, the law is not very effectively
enforced in this respect in the glass factories. In Indiana the
employment of children under fourteen in factories is forbidden. Women
and girls are not permitted to work between the hours of 10 P.M. and 6
A.M., but there is no restriction placed upon the employment of boys
fourteen years of age or over by night.[119]

The effects of the employment of young boys in glass factories,
especially by night, are injurious from every possible point of view.
The constant facing of the glare of the furnaces and the red-hot bottles
causes serious injury to the sight; minor accidents from burning are
common. “Severe burns and the loss of sight are regular risks of the
trade in glass-bottle making,” says Mrs. Florence Kelley.[120] Even more
serious than the accidents are those physical disorders induced by the
conditions of employment. Boys who work at night do not as a rule get
sufficient or satisfactory rest by day. Very often they cannot sleep
because of the noises made by younger children in and around the house;
more often, perhaps, they prefer to play rather than to sleep. Indeed,
most boys seem to prefer night work, for the reason that it gives them
the chance to play during the daytime. Even where the mothers are
careful and solicitous, they find it practically impossible to control
boys who are wage-earners and feel themselves to be independent. This
lack of proper rest, added to the heat and strain of their work,
produces nervous dyspepsia. From working in draughty sheds where they
are often, as one boy said to me in Zanesville, O., “burning on the side
against the furnace and pretty near freezing on the other,” they are
frequently subject to rheumatism. Going from the heated factories to
their homes, often a mile or so distant, perspiring and improperly clad,
with their vitality at its lowest ebb, they fall ready victims to
pneumonia and to its heir, the Great White Plague. In almost every
instance when I have asked local physicians for their experience, they
have named these as the commonest physical results. Of the fearful moral
consequences there can be no question. The glass-blowers themselves
realize this and, even more than the physical deterioration, it prevents
them from taking their own children into the glass houses. One
practically never finds the son of a glass-blower employed as a
“snapper-up,” or “carrying-in boy,” unless the father is dead or
incapacitated by reason of sickness. “I’d sooner see my boy dead than
working here. You might as well give a boy to the devil at once as send
him to a glass factory,” said one blower to me in Glassborough, N.J.;
and that is the spirit in which most of the men regard the matter.

So great is the demand for boys that it is possible at almost any time
for a boy to get employment for a single night. Indeed, “one shifters”
are so common in some districts that the employers have found it
necessary to institute a system of bonuses for those boys who work every
night in a week. Out of this readiness to employ boys for a single night
has grown a terrible evil,—boys attending school all day and then
working in the factories by night. Many such cases have been reported to
me, and Mrs. Van Der Vaart declares that “it is customary in Indiana for
the school boys to work Thursday and Friday nights and attend school
during the day.”[121] Mr. Lovejoy found the same practice in
Steubenville, O., and other places.[122] Teachers in glass-manufacturing
centres have repeatedly told me that among the older boys were some who,
because of their employment by night in the factories, were drowsy and
unable to receive any benefits from their attendance at school.

In some districts, especially in New Jersey, it has long been the custom
to import boys from certain orphan asylums and “reformatories” to supply
the demand of the manufacturers. These boys are placed in laborers’
families, and their board paid for by the employers, who deduct it from
the boys’ wages. Thus a veritable system of child slavery has developed,
remarkably like the old English pauper-apprentice system. “These
imported boys are under no restraint by day or night,” says Mrs. Kelley,
“and are wholly without control during the idle hours. They are in the
streets in gangs, in and out of the police courts and the jails, a
burden to themselves and to the community imposed by the demand of this
boy-destroying industry.”[123] It is perhaps only indicative of the
universal readiness of men to concern themselves with the mote in their
brothers’ eyes without considering the beam in their own, that I should
have attended a meeting in New Jersey where the child labor of the South
was bitterly condemned, but no word was said of the appalling nature of
the problem in the state of New Jersey itself.


                                   VI

According to the census of 1900, there were 25,000 boys under sixteen
years of age employed in and around the mines and quarries of the United
States. In the state of Pennsylvania alone,—the state which enslaves
more children than any other,—there are thousands of little “breaker
boys” employed, many of them not more than nine or ten years old. The
law forbids the employment of children under fourteen, and the records
of the mines generally show that the law is “obeyed.” Yet in May, 1905,
an investigation by the National Child Labor Committee showed that in
one small borough of 7000 population, among the boys employed in
breakers 35 were nine years old, 40 were ten, 45 were eleven, and 45
were twelve—over 150 boys illegally employed in one section of boy labor
in one small town! During the anthracite coal strike of 1902, I attended
the Labor Day demonstration at Pittston and witnessed the parade of
another at Wilkesbarre. In each case there were hundreds of boys
marching, all of them wearing their “working buttons,” testifying to the
fact that they were _bona fide_ workers. Scores of them were less than
ten years of age, others were eleven or twelve.

Work in the coal breakers is exceedingly hard and dangerous. Crouched
over the chutes, the boys sit hour after hour, picking out the pieces of
slate and other refuse from the coal as it rushes past to the washers.
From the cramped position they have to assume, most of them become more
or less deformed and bent-backed like old men. When a boy has been
working for some time and begins to get round-shouldered, his fellows
say that “He’s got his boy to carry round wherever he goes.” The coal is
hard, and accidents to the hands, such as cut, broken, or crushed
fingers, are common among the boys. Sometimes there is a worse accident:
a terrified shriek is heard, and a boy is mangled and torn in the
machinery, or disappears in the chute to be picked out later smothered
and dead.[124] Clouds of dust fill the breakers and are inhaled by the
boys, laying the foundations for asthma and miners’ consumption. I once
stood in a breaker for half an hour and tried to do the work a
twelve-year-old boy was doing day after day, for ten hours at a stretch,
for sixty cents a day. The gloom of the breaker appalled me. Outside the
sun shone brightly, the air was pellucid, and the birds sang in chorus
with the trees and the rivers. Within the breaker there was blackness,
clouds of deadly dust enfolded everything, the harsh, grinding roar of
the machinery and the ceaseless rushing of coal through the chutes
filled the ears. I tried to pick out the pieces of slate from the
hurrying stream of coal, often missing them; my hands were bruised and
cut in a few minutes; I was covered from head to foot with coal dust,
and for many hours afterwards I was expectorating some of the small
particles of anthracite I had swallowed.

[Illustration:

  BREAKER BOYS AT WORK
]

I could not do that work and live, but there were boys of ten and twelve
years of age doing it for fifty and sixty cents a day. Some of them had
never been inside of a school; few of them could read a child’s primer.
True, some of them attended the night schools, but after working ten
hours in the breaker the educational results from attending school were
practically _nil_. “We goes fer a good time, an’ we keeps de guys wots
dere hoppin’ all de time,” said little Owen Jones, whose work I had been
trying to do. How strange that barbaric patois sounded to me as I
remembered the rich, musical language I had so often heard other little
Owen Joneses speak in far-away Wales. As I stood in that breaker I
thought of the reply of the small boy to Robert Owen. Visiting an
English coal-mine one day, Owen asked a twelve-year-old lad if he knew
God. The boy stared vacantly at his questioner: “God?” he said, “God?
No, I don’t. He must work in some other mine.” It was hard to realize
amid the danger and din and blackness of that Pennsylvania breaker that
such a thing as belief in a great All-good God existed.

From the breakers the boys graduate to the mine depths, where they
become door tenders, switch-boys, or mule-drivers. Here, far below the
surface work is still more dangerous. At fourteen or fifteen the boys
assume the same risks as the men, and are surrounded by the same perils.
Nor is it in Pennsylvania only that these conditions exist. In the
bituminous mines of West Virginia, boys of nine or ten are frequently
employed. I met one little fellow ten years old in Mt. Carbon, W. Va.,
last year, who was employed as a “trap boy.” Think of what it means to
be a trap boy at ten years of age. It means to sit alone in a dark mine
passage hour after hour, with no human soul near; to see no living
creature except the mules as they pass with their loads, or a rat or two
seeking to share one’s meal; to stand in water or mud that covers the
ankles, chilled to the marrow by the cold draughts that rush in when you
open the trap-door for the mules to pass through; to work for fourteen
hours—waiting—opening and shutting a door—then waiting again—for sixty
cents; to reach the surface when all is wrapped in the mantle of night,
and to fall to the earth exhausted and have to be carried away to the
nearest “shack” to be revived before it is possible to walk to the
farther shack called “home.”

Boys twelve years of age may be _legally_ employed in the mines of West
Virginia, by day or by night, and for as many hours as the employers
care to make them toil or their bodies will stand the strain. Where the
disregard of child life is such that this may be done openly and with
legal sanction, it is easy to believe what miners have again and again
told me—that there are hundreds of little boys of nine and ten years of
age employed in the coal-mines of this state.


                                  VII

It is not my purpose to deal specifically with all the various forms of
child labor. That would require a much larger volume than this to be
devoted exclusively to the subject. Children are employed at a tender
age in hundreds of occupations. In addition to those already enumerated,
there were in 1900, according to the census, nearly 12,000 workers under
sixteen years of age employed in the manufacture of tobacco and cigars,
and it is certain that the number actually employed in that most
unhealthful occupation was much greater. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania,
I have seen hundreds of children, boys and girls, between the ages of
ten and twelve years, at work in the factories belonging to the “Cigar
Trust.” Some of these factories are known as “kindergartens” on account
of the large number of small children employed in them.[125] It is by no
means a rare occurrence for children in these factories to faint or to
fall asleep over their work, and I have heard a foreman in one of them
say that it was “enough for one man to do just to keep the kids awake.”
In the domestic manufacture of cheap cigars, many very young children
are employed. Often the “factories” are poorly lighted, ill-ventilated
tenements in which work, whether for children or adults, ought to be
absolutely prohibited. Children work often as many as fourteen or even
sixteen hours in these little “home factories,” and in cities like
Pittsburg, Pa., it is not unusual for them, after attending school all
day, to work from 4 P.M. to 12.30 A.M., making “tobies” or “stogies,”
for which they receive from eight to ten cents per hundred.

In the wood-working industries, more than 10,000 children were reported
to be employed in the census year, almost half of them in saw-mills,
where accidents are of almost daily occurrence, and where clouds of fine
sawdust fill the lungs of the workers. Of the remaining 50 per cent, it
is probable that more than half were working at or near dangerous
machines, such as steam planers and lathes. Over 7000 children, mostly
girls, were employed in laundries; 2000 in bakeries; 138,000 as servants
and waiters in restaurants and hotels; 42,000 boys as messengers; and
20,000 boys and girls in stores. In all these instances there is every
reason to suppose that the actual number employed was much larger than
the official figures show.

In the canning and preservation of fish, fruit, and vegetables mere
babies are employed during the busy season. In more than one canning
factory in New York State, I have seen children of six and seven years
of age working at two o’clock in the morning. In Oneida, Mr. William
English Walling, formerly a factory inspector of Illinois, found one
child four years old, who earned nineteen cents in an afternoon
stringing beans, and other children from seven to ten years of age.[126]
There are over 500 canning factories in New York State, but the census
of 1900 gives the number of children employed under sixteen years of age
as 219. This is merely another illustration of the deceptiveness of the
statistics which are gathered at so much expense. The agent of the New
York Child Labor Committee was told by the foreman of one factory that
there were 300 children under fourteen years of age in that one factory!
In Syracuse it was a matter of complaint, in the season of 1904, on the
part of the children, that “The factories will not take you _unless you
are eight years old_.”[127]

In Maryland there are absolutely no restrictions placed upon the
employment of children in canneries. They may be employed at any age, by
day or night, for as many hours as the employers choose, or the children
can stand and keep awake. In Oxford, Md., I saw a tiny girl, seven years
old, who had worked for twelve hours in an oyster-canning factory, and I
was told that such cases were common. There were 290 canning
establishments in the state of Maryland in 1900, all of them employing
young children absolutely without legal restriction. And I fear that it
must be added with little or no moral restriction either. Where regard
for child life does not express itself in humane laws for its
preservation, it may generally be presumed to be non-existent.

In Maine the age limit for employment is twelve years. Children of that
age may be employed by day or night, provided that girls under eighteen
and boys under sixteen are not permitted to work more than ten hours in
the twenty-four or sixty hours in a week. In 1900 there were 117
establishments engaged in the preservation and canning of fish. Small
herrings are canned and placed upon the market as “sardines.”[128] This
industry is principally confined to the Atlantic coast towns,—Lubec and
Eastport, in Washington County, being the main centres. I cannot speak
of this industry from personal investigation, but information received
from competent and trustworthy sources gives me the impression that
child slavery nowhere assumes a worse form than in the “sardine”
canneries of Maine. Says one of my correspondents in a private letter:
“In the rush season, fathers, mothers, older children, and babies work
from early morn till night—from dawn till dark, in fact. You will
scarcely believe me, perhaps, when I say ‘and babies,’ but it is
literally true. I’ve seen them in the present season, no more than four
or five years old, working hard and beaten when they lagged. As you may
suppose, being out here, far away from the centre of the state, we are
not much troubled by factory inspection. I have read about the
conditions in the Southern mills, but nothing I have read equals for
sheer brutality what I see right here in Washington County.”

In the sweatshops and, more particularly, the poorly paid home
industries, the kindergartens are robbed to provide baby slaves. I am
perfectly well aware that many persons will smile incredulously at the
thought of infants from three to five years old working. “What can such
little babies do?” they ask. Well, take the case of little Anetta
Fachini, for example. The work she was doing when I saw her, wrapping
paper around pieces of wire, was very similar to the play of
better-favored children. As play, to be put aside whenever her childish
fancy wandered to something else, it would have been a very good thing
for little Anetta to do. She was compelled, however, to do it from early
morning till late at night and even denied the right to sleep. For her,
therefore, what might be play for some other child became the most awful
bondage and cruelty. What can four-year-old babies do? Go into the
nursery and watch the rich man’s four-year-old child, seated upon the
rug, sorting many-colored beads and fascinated by the occupation for
half an hour or so. That is play—good and wholesome for the child. In
the public kindergarten, other four-year-old children are doing the same
thing with zest and laughing delight. But go into the dim tenement
yonder; another four-year-old child is sorting beads, but not in play.
Her eyes do not sparkle with childish glee; she does not shout with
delight at finding a prize among the beads. With tragic seriousness she
picks out the beads and lays them before her mother, who is a
slipper-beader—that is, she sews the beaded designs upon ladies’ fancy
slippers. She works from morn till night, and all the while the child is
seated by her side, straining her little eyes in the dim light, sorting
the beads or stringing them on pieces of thread.

In the “Help Wanted” columns of the morning papers, advertisements
frequently appear such as the following, taken from one of the leading
New York dailies:—

  WANTED.—Beaders on slippers; good pay; steady home work. M. B——,
  West —— Street.

In the tenement districts women may be seen staggering along with sack
loads of slippers to be trimmed with beadwork, and children of four
years of age and upward are pressed into service to provide cheap,
dainty slippers for dainty ladies. What can four-year-old babies do? A
hundred things, when they are driven to it. “They are pulling basting
threads so that you and I may wear cheap garments; they are arranging
the petals of artificial flowers; they are sorting beads; they are
pasting boxes. They do more than that. I know of a room where a dozen or
more little children are seated on the floor, surrounded by barrels, and
in those barrels is found human hair, matted, tangled, and
blood-stained—you can imagine the condition, for it is not my hair or
yours that is cut off in the hour of death.”[129]

[Illustration:

  HOME “FINISHERS”: A CONSUMPTIVE MOTHER AND HER TWO CHILDREN

  Both of the children work and sleep with the mother.
]

There are more than 23,000 licensed “home factories” in New York City
alone, 23,000 groups of workers in the tenements licensed to manufacture
goods. How difficult it is to protect children employed in these
tenement factories can best be judged by the following incident: Two
small Italian children, a boy of five and his sister aged four, left a
West-side kindergarten and were promptly followed up by their
kindergartner, who found that the children were working and could not,
in the opinion of their mother, be spared to attend the kindergarten.
They were both helping to make artificial flowers. The truant officer
was first applied to and asked whether the compulsory education law
could not be used to free them, part of the time at least, from their
unnatural toil. But attendance at school is not compulsory before the
eighth year, so that was a useless appeal. Then the factory inspector
was applied to, and he showed that the work of the children was entirely
legal; they received no wages and were, therefore, not “employed” in the
technical sense of that term. They were working in their own family. The
room was not dirty or excessively overcrowded. No law was broken, and
there was no legal means whereby the enslavement of those little
children might be prevented.[130]

This kind of child labor, be it remembered, is very different from that
wholesome employment of children in the domestic industry which preceded
the advent of the system of machine production. Then there was hope in
the work and joy in the leisure which followed the work. Then
competition was based on human qualities; man against man, hand against
hand, eye against eye, brain against brain. To-day the competition is
between man and the machine, the child and the man,—and even the child
and the machine. Children are employed in the textile mills because
their labor is cheaper than that of adults; boys are employed in the
glass factories at night because their labor is cheaper to buy than
machinery; children in the tenements paste the fancy boxes in which we
get our candies and chocolate bonbons for the same reason. Such child
labor has no other objective than the increase of employers’ profits; it
has nothing to do with training the child for the work of life. On the
contrary, it saps the constitution of the child, robs it of hope, and
unfits it for life’s struggle. Such child labor is not educative or
wholesome, but blighting to body, mind, and spirit.


                                  VIII

There has been no extensive, systematic investigation in this country of
the physical condition of working children. In 1893–1894 volunteer
physicians examined and made measurements of some 200 children, taken
from the factories and workshops of Chicago.[131] These records show a
startling proportion of undersized, rachitic, and consumptive children,
but they are too limited to be of more than suggestive value. So far as
they go, however, they bear out the results obtained in more extensive
investigations in European countries. It is the consensus of opinion
among those having the best opportunities for careful observation that
physical deterioration quickly follows a child’s employment in a factory
or workshop.

It is a sorry but indisputable fact that where children are employed,
the most unhealthful work is generally given them.[132] In the spinning
and carding rooms of cotton and woollen mills, where large numbers of
children are employed, clouds of lint-dust fill the lungs and menace the
health. The children have often a distressing cough, caused by the
irritation of the throat, and many are hoarse from the same cause. In
bottle factories and other branches of glass manufacture, the atmosphere
is constantly charged with microscopic particles of glass. In the
wood-working industries, such as the manufacture of cheap furniture and
wooden boxes, and packing cases, the air is laden with fine sawdust.
Children employed in soap and soap-powder factories work, many of them,
in clouds of alkaline dust which inflames the eyelids and nostrils. Boys
employed in filling boxes of soap-powder work all day long with
handkerchiefs tied over their mouths. In the coal-mines the breaker boys
breathe air that is heavy and thick with particles of coal, and their
lungs become black in consequence. In the manufacture of felt hats,
little girls are often employed at the machines which tear the fur from
the skins of rabbits and other animals. Recently, I stood and watched a
young girl working at such a machine; she wore a newspaper pinned over
her head and a handkerchief tied over her mouth. She was white with dust
from head to feet, and when she stooped to pick anything from the floor
the dust would fall from her paper head-covering in little heaps. About
seven feet from the mouth of the machine was a window through which
poured thick volumes of dust as it was belched out from the machine. I
placed a sheet of paper on the inner sill of the window and in twenty
minutes it was covered with a layer of fine dust, half an inch deep. Yet
that girl works midway between the window and the machine, in the very
centre of the volume of dust, sixty hours a week. These are a few of the
occupations in which the dangers arise from the forced inhalation of
dust.

In some occupations, such as silk-winding, flax-spinning, and various
processes in the manufacture of felt hats, it is necessary, or believed
to be necessary, to keep the atmosphere quite moist. The result of
working in a close, heated factory, where the air is artificially
moistened, in summer time, can be better imagined than described. So
long as enough girls can be kept working, and only a few of them faint,
the mills are kept going; but when faintings are so many and so frequent
that it does not pay to keep going, the mills are closed. The children
who work in the dye rooms and print-shops of textile factories, and the
color rooms of factories where the materials for making artificial
flowers are manufactured, are subject to contact with poisonous dyes,
and the results are often terrible. Very frequently they are dyed in
parts of their bodies as literally as the fabrics are dyed. One little
fellow, who was employed in a Pennsylvania carpet factory, opened his
shirt one day and showed me his chest and stomach dyed a deep, rich
crimson. I mentioned the incident to a local physician, and was told
that such cases were common. “They are simply saturated with the dye,”
he said. “The results are extremely severe, though very often slow and,
for a long time, almost imperceptible. If they should cut or scratch
themselves where they are so thoroughly dyed, it might mean death.” In
Yonkers, N.Y., are some of the largest carpet factories in the United
States, and many children are employed in them. Some of the smallest
children are employed in the “drum room,” or print-shop, where the yarns
are “printed” or dyed. Small boys, mostly Slavs and Hungarians, push the
trucks containing boxes of liquid dye from place to place, and get it
all over their clothing. They can be seen coming out of the mills at
night literally soaked to the skin with dye of various colors. In the
winter time, after a fall of snow, it is possible to track them to their
homes, not only by their colored footprints, but by the drippings from
their clothing. The snow becomes dotted with red, blue, and green, as
though some one had sprinkled the colors for the sake of the variegated
effect.

Children employed as varnishers in cheap furniture factories inhale
poisonous fumes all day long and suffer from a variety of intestinal
troubles in consequence. The gilding of picture frames produces a
stiffening of the fingers. The children who are employed in the
manufacture of wall papers and poisonous paints suffer from slow
poisoning. The naphtha fumes in the manufacture of rubber goods produce
paralysis and premature decay. Children employed in morocco leather
works are often nauseated and fall easy victims to consumption. The
little boys who make matches, and the little girls who pack them in
boxes, suffer from phosphorous necrosis, or “phossy-jaw,” a gangrene of
the lower jaw due to phosphor poisoning. Boys employed in type foundries
and stereotyping establishments are employed on the most dangerous part
of the work, namely, rubbing the type and the plates, and lead poisoning
is excessively prevalent among them as a result. Little girls who work
in the hosiery mills and carry heavy baskets from one floor to another,
and their sisters who run machines by foot-power, suffer all through
their after life as a result of their employment. Girls who work in
factories where caramels and other kinds of candies are made are
constantly passing from the refrigerating department, where the
temperature is perhaps 20 degrees Fahr., to other departments with
temperatures as high as 80 or 90 degrees. As a result, they suffer from
bronchial troubles.

These are only a few of the many occupations of children that are
inherently unhealthful and should be prohibited entirely for children
and all young persons under eighteen years of age. In a few instances it
might be sufficient to fix the minimum age for employment at sixteen, if
certain improvements in the conditions of employment were insisted upon.
Other dangers to health, such as the quick transition from the heat of
the factory to the cold outside air, have already been noted. They are
highly important causes of disease, though not inherent in the
occupation itself in most cases. A careful study of the child-labor
problem from this largely neglected point of view would be most
valuable. When to the many dangers to health are added the dangers to
life and limb from accidents, far more numerous among child workers than
adults,[133] the price we pay for the altogether unnecessary and
uneconomic service of children would, in the Boer patriot’s phrase,
“stagger humanity,” if it could be comprehended.

No combination of figures can give any idea of that price. Statistics
cannot express the withering of child lips in the poisoned air of
factories; the tired, strained look of child eyes that never dance to
the glad music of souls tuned to Nature’s symphonies; the binding to
wheels of industry the little bodies and souls that should be free, as
the stars are free to shine and the flowers are free to drink the
evening dews. Statistics may be perfected to the extent of giving the
number of child workers with accuracy, the number maimed by dangerous
machines, and the number who die year by year, but they can never give
the spiritual loss, if I may use that word in its secular, scientific
sense. Who shall tally the deaths of childhood’s hopes, ambitions, and
dreams? How shall figures show the silent atrophy of potential genius,
the brutalizing of potential love, the corruption of potential purity?
In what arithmetical terms shall we state the loss of shame, and the
development of that less than brute view of life, which enables us to
watch with unconcern the toil of infants side by side with the idleness
of men?


                                   IX

The moral ills resulting from child labor are numerous and far-reaching.
When children become wage-earners and are thrown into constant
association with adult workers, they develop prematurely an adult
consciousness and view of life. About the first consequence of their
employment is that they cease almost at once to be children. They lose
their respect for parental authority, in many cases, and become
arrogant, wayward, and defiant. There is always a tendency in their
homes to regard them as men and women as soon as they become
wage-earners. Discipline is at once relaxed, at the very time when it is
most necessary. When children who have just entered upon that most
critical period of life, adolescence, are associated with adults in
factories, are driven to their tasks with curses, and hear continually
the unrestrained conversation, often coarse and foul, of the adults, the
psychological effect cannot be other than bad. The mothers and fathers
who read this book need only to know that children, little boys and
girls, in mills and factories where men and women are employed, must
frequently see women at work in whom the signs of a developing life
within are evident, and hear them made the butt of the coarsest taunts
and jests, to realize how great the moral peril to the adolescent boy or
girl must be.

No writer dare write, and no publisher dare publish, a truthful
description of the moral atmosphere of hundreds of places where children
are employed,—a description truthful in the sense of telling the whole
truth. No publisher would dare print the language current in an average
factory. Our most “realistic” writers must exercise stern artistic
reticence, and tone down or evade the truth. No normal boy or girl would
think of repeating to father or mother the language heard in the
mill—language which the children begin before long to use occasionally,
to _think_ oftener still. I have known a girl of thirteen or fourteen,
just an average American girl, whose parents, intelligent and honest
folk, had given her a moral training above rather than below the
average, mock a pregnant woman worker and unblushingly attempt to
caricature her condition by stuffing rags beneath her apron. I do not
make any charge against the tens of thousands of women who have worked
and are working in factories. Heaven forbid that I should seek to brand
as impure these women of my own class! But I do say that for the plastic
and impressionable mind of a child the moral atmosphere of the average
factory is exceedingly bad, and I know that none will more readily agree
with me than the men and women who work, or who have worked, in mills
and factories.

I know a woman, and she is one of many, who has worked in textile
factories for more than thirty years. She began to work as a child
before she was ten years old, and is now past forty. She has never
married, though many men have sought her in marriage. She is not an
abnormal woman, indifferent to marriage, but just a normal, healthy,
intelligent woman who has yearned hundreds of times for a man’s
affection and companionship. To her more intimate friends she confesses
that she chose to remain lonely and unwed, chose to stifle her longings
for affection, rather than to marry and bring children into the world
and live to see them enter the mills for employment before they became
men and women. When I say that the moral atmosphere of factory life is
contaminated and bad, and that the employment of children in mills and
factories subjects them to grave moral perils, I am confident that I
shall be supported, not, perhaps, by the owners of the mills and
factories, but by the vast majority of intelligent men and women
employed in them.

In a report upon the physical conditions of child workers in
Pennsylvania, the Rev. Peter Roberts has discussed at some length the
moral dangers of factory employment for children. He quotes an Allentown
physician as saying, “No vice was unknown to many of the girls of
fifteen working in the factories of the city;” and another physician in
the same city said, “There are more unhappy homes, ruined lives, blasted
hopes, and diseased bodies in Allentown than any other city of its size,
because of the factories there.” Another physician, in Lancaster, is
quoted as saying that he had “treated boys of ten years old and upwards
for venereal affections which they had contracted.”[134] In upwards of a
score of factory towns I have had very similar testimony given to me by
physicians and others. The proprietor of a large drug store in a New
England factory town told me that he had never known a place where the
demand for cheap remedies for venereal diseases was so great, and _that
many of those who bought them were boys under fifteen_.

Nor is it only in factories that these grosser forms of immorality
flourish. They are even more prevalent among the children of the street
trades, newsboys, bootblacks, messengers, and the like. The proportion
of newsboys who suffer from venereal diseases is alarmingly great. The
Superintendent of the John Worthy School of Chicago, Mr. Sloan, asserts
that “One-third of all the newsboys who come to the John Worthy School
have venereal disease, and that 10 per cent of the remaining newsboys at
present in the Bridewell are, according to the physicians’ diagnosis,
suffering from similar diseases.”[135] The newsboys who come to the
school are, according to Mr. Sloan, on an average one-third below the
ordinary standard of physical development, a condition which will be
readily understood by those who know the ways of the newsboys of our
great cities—their irregular habits, scant feeding, sexual excesses,
secret vices, sleeping in hallways, basements, stables, and quiet
corners. With such a low physical standard the ravages of venereal
diseases are tremendously increased.

[Illustration:

  SILK MILL GIRLS AFTER TWO YEARS OF FACTORY LIFE
]

The messenger boys and the American District Telegraph boys are
frequently found in the worst resorts of the “red-light” districts of
our cities. In New York there are hundreds of such boys, ranging in age
from twelve to fifteen, who know many of the prostitutes of the
Tenderloin by name. Sad to relate, boys like to be employed in the
“red-light” districts. They like it, not because they are bad or
depraved, but for the very natural reason that they make more money
there, receiving larger and more numerous tips. They are called upon for
many services by the habitués of these haunts of the vicious and the
profligate. They are sent out to place bets; to take notes to and from
houses of ill-fame; or to buy liquor, cigarettes, candy, and even
gloves, shoes, corsets, and other articles of wearing apparel for the
“ladies.” Not only are tips abundant, but there are many opportunities
for graft of which the boys avail themselves. A lad is sent, for
instance, for a bottle of whiskey. He is told to get a certain brand at
a neighboring hotel, but he knows where he can get the same brand for 50
per cent of the hotel price, and, naturally, he goes there for it and
pockets the difference in price. That is one form of messengers’ graft.
Another is overcharging for his services and pocketing the surplus, or
keeping the change from a “ten-spot” or a “fiver,” when, as often
happens, the “sports” are either too reckless to bother about such
trifles or too drunk to remember. From sources such as these the
messenger boy in a district like the Tenderloin will often make several
dollars a day.[136]

A whole series of temptations confronts the messenger boy. He smokes,
drinks, gambles, and, very often, patronizes the lowest class of cheap
brothels. In answering calls from houses of ill-repute messengers cannot
avoid being witnesses of scenes of licentiousness more or less
frequently. By presents of money, fruit, candy, cigarettes, and even
liquor, the women make friends of the boys, who quickly learn all the
foul slang of the brothels.[137] The conversation of a group of
messengers in such a district will often reveal the most astounding
intimacy with the grossest things of the underworld. That in their
adolescence, the transition from boyhood to manhood, fraught as it is
with its own inherent perils, they should be thrown into such an
environment and exposed to such temptations is an evil which cannot
possibly be overemphasized. The penal code of New York declares the
sending of minors to carry messages to or from a house of ill-fame to be
a misdemeanor, but the law is a dead letter. It cannot possibly be
enforced, and its repeal would probably be a good thing. While it may be
urged that the mere existence of such a law has a certain moral value as
a condemnation of such a dangerous employment for boys, it is
exceedingly doubtful if that good is sufficient to counterbalance the
harm which comes from the non-enforcement of the law.

I have dwelt mainly upon the grosser vices associated with street
employment, as with employment in factories and mines, because it is a
phase of the subject about which too little is known. I need scarcely
say, however, that these vices are not the only ones to which serious
attention should be given. Crime naturally results from such conditions.
Of 600 boys committed to the New York Juvenile Asylum by the courts, 125
were newsboys who had been committed for various offences ranging from
ungovernableness and disorderly conduct to grand larceny.[138] Mr.
Nibecker, Superintendent of the House of Refuge at Glen Mills, near
Philadelphia, was asked, “Have you, in disproportionate numbers, boys
who formerly were engaged in some one particular occupation?” He replied
promptly, “Yes, district messengers.”[139] It seems to be the almost
unanimous opinion of probation officers and other competent authorities
in our large cities that messenger boys and newsboys furnish an
exceedingly large proportion of cases of juvenile delinquency. I wrote
to six probation officers in as many large cities asking them to give me
their opinions as to the classes of occupation which seem to have the
largest number of juvenile delinquents. Their replies are summarized in
the following schedule:—

  OCCUPATIONS OF JUVENILE DELINQUENTS IN SIX LARGE CITIES, SHOWING THE
                   RELATIVE NUMBER OF EACH OCCUPATION

 ═══════╤═══════════════╤═══════════════╤═══════════════╤═══════════════
 REPORT │       A       │       B       │       C       │       D
 ───────┼───────────────┼───────────────┼───────────────┼───────────────
    1   │Messenger boys │Newsboys       │Factory boys   │Miscellaneous
    2   │Newsboys       │Messenger boys │Factory boys   │Truants
    3   │Newsboys       │Messenger boys │Truants        │Factory boys
    4   │Messenger boys │Factory boys   │Newsboys       │Miscellaneous
    5   │Messenger boys │Newsboys       │Truants        │Miscellaneous
    6   │Factory boys   │Truants        │Messenger boys │Newsboys
 ═══════╧═══════════════╧═══════════════╧═══════════════╧═══════════════

In six smaller cities, where the number of factory workers is much
larger in proportion than in the great cities, and the number of
newsboys and messengers is much smaller, the results were somewhat
different. The following schedule is interesting as a summary of the
replies received from these towns:—

  OCCUPATIONS OF JUVENILE DELINQUENTS IN SIX TOWNS OF LESS THAN 100,000
     INHABITANTS, SHOWING THE RELATIVE NUMBER OF EACH OCCUPATION[E]

 ═══════╤═══════════════╤═══════════════╤═══════════════╤═══════════════
 REPORT │       A       │       B       │       C       │       D
 ───────┼───────────────┼───────────────┼───────────────┼───────────────
    1   │Mine boys      │Truants        │Messenger boys │Miscellaneous
    2   │Glass-house    │Other factory  │Miscellaneous  │Truants
        │  boys         │  boys         │               │
    3   │Mill boys      │Messenger boys │Truants        │Miscellaneous
    4   │Mill boys      │Mine boys      │Truants        │Miscellaneous
    5   │Mill boys      │Truants        │Newsboys       │Miscellaneous
    6   │Mine boys      │Messenger boys │Miscellaneous  │Truants
 ═══════╧═══════════════╧═══════════════╧═══════════════╧═══════════════

These facts, and other facts of a like nature, are only indicative of
the ill effects of child labor upon the morals of the children. In some
cases the moral peril lies in the nature of the work itself, while in
others it lies, not in the work, but in the conditions by which it is
surrounded. In the Chicago Stock Yards, for example, judging by what I
saw there, I should say that in most, if not all, of the departments the
work itself is degrading and brutalizing, and that no person under
eighteen years of age ought to be permitted to work in them. In large
laundries little girls are very commonly employed as “sorters.” Their
work is to sort out the soiled clothes as they come in and to classify
them. While such work must be disagreeable and unwholesome for a young
girl, there is nothing necessarily demoralizing about it. But when such
little girls are compelled to work with men and women of the coarsest
and most illiterate type, as they frequently are, and to listen to
constant conversation charged with foul suggestions, it becomes a
soul-destroying occupation. At its best, even when all possible efforts
are made to keep the place of employment pure and above reproach—and I
know that there are many such places—still the whole tendency of child
labor is in the direction of a lower moral standard. The feeling of
independence caused by the ability to earn wages, the relaxation of
parental authority, with the result that the children roam the streets
at night or frequent places of amusement of questionable character; the
ruthless destruction of the bloom of youthful innocence and the forced
consciousness of life properly belonging to adult years—these are
inevitably associated with child labor.


                                   X

These are some of the ills which child labor inflicts upon the children
themselves, ills which do not end with their childhood days but curse
and blight all their after years. The child who is forced to be a man
too soon, forced too early to enter the industrial strife of the world,
ceases to _be_ a man too soon, ceases to be _fit_ for the industrial
strife. When the strength is sapped in childhood there is an absence of
strength in manhood and womanhood; Ruskin’s words are profoundly true,
that “to be a man too soon is to be a small man.” We are to-day using up
the vitality of children; soon they will be men and women, without the
vitality and strength necessary to maintain themselves and their
dependants. When we exploit the immature strength of little children, we
prepare recruits for the miserable army of the unfit and unemployable,
whose lot is a shameful and debasing poverty.

This wrong to helpless childhood carries with it, therefore, a certain
and dreadful retribution. It is not possible to injure a child without
injuring society. Whatever burden society lays, or permits to be laid,
upon the shoulders of its children, it must ultimately bear upon its
own. Society’s interest in the child may be well expressed in a slight
paraphrase of the words of Jesus, “Whatsoever is done to one of the
least of these little ones is done unto me.” It is in that spirit that
the advocates of child-labor legislation would have the nation forbid
the exploitation, literally the exhaustion, of children by
self-interested employers. For the abuse of childhood by individual
antisocial interests, society as a whole must pay the penalty. If we
neglect the children of to-day, and sap their strength so that they
become weaklings, we must bear the burden of their failures when they
fail and fall:—

             “There is a sacred Something on all ways—
             Something that watches through the Universe;
             One that remembers, reckons and repays,
             Giving us love for love, and curse for curse.”

It is a well-known fact that the competition of children with their
elders entails serious consequences of a twofold nature,—first, in the
displacement of adults, and, second, in the lowering of their wage
standards. There are few things more tragic in the modern industrial
system than the sight of children working while their fathers can find
no other employment than to carry dinners to them. I know that many
persons are always ready to suggest that the fathers like this unnatural
arrangement, that they prefer to live upon the earnings of their little
ones, and there are, no doubt, cases in which this is true. But in the
majority of cases it is not true. Every one who is at all familiar with
the lives of the workers must realize that when applied indiscriminately
to the mass of those who find themselves in that condition of dependence
upon their children’s labor, this view is a gross libel. Some months
ago, I stood outside of a large clothing factory in Rochester, N.Y. Upon
the front of the building, as upon several others in the street, there
hung a painted sign, such as I have seen there many times, bearing the
inscription, “Small Girls Wanted.” While I stood there two men passed by
and I heard one of them say to the other: “That’s fourteen places we’ve
seen they want kids to-day, Bill, but we’ve tramped round all week an’
never got sight of a job.” I have known many earnest, industrious men to
be weeks at a time seeking employment while their children could get
places without difficulty. The displacement of adult workers by their
children is a stern and sad feature of the competition of the labor
market, which no amount of cynicism can dispose of.

A brief study of the returns published in the bulletins and reports of
the various bureaus of labor and the labor unions will show that child
labor tends to lower the wages of adult workers. Where the competition
of children is a factor wages are invariably lowest. Two or three years
ago I was associated in a small way with an agitation carried on by the
members of the Cigarmakers’ Union in Pennsylvania against the “Cigar
Trust.” One of the principal issues in that agitation was the employment
of young children. The labor unions have always opposed child labor, for
the reason that they know from experience how its employment tends to
displace adult labor and to reduce wages. In the case of the
cigarmakers’ agitation the chief grievance was the fact that children
were making for $2 and $2.50 per thousand the same class of cigars as
the men were paid from $7.50 to $8 per thousand for making.[140] The men
worked under fairly decent, human conditions, but the conditions under
which the children worked were positively inhuman. That such competition
as that, if extensive, must result in the gradual displacement of men
and the employment of children, accompanied by the reduction of the
wages of the men fortunate enough to be allowed to remain at work, is, I
think, self-evident. In their turn the unemployment of adults and the
lowering of wages are fruitful sources of poverty, and force the
employment of many children.

These are some of the most obvious immediate economic consequences of
child labor, simple facts which we can readily grasp. But there are
other, subtler and less obvious, economic consequences of even greater
importance, so vast that their magnitude cannot be measured nor even
guessed. It is impossible to conceive how much we lose through the
lessened productive capacity of those who have been prematurely
exploited, and even if that were possible, we should still have to face
the stupendous problem of determining how much of our expenditure for
the relief of poverty, caring for the diseased and crippled, and the
expensive maintenance of a large criminal class in prisons and
reformatories, has been rendered necessary by that same fundamental
cause. It is an awful, bewildering problem, this ultimate economic cost
of child labor to society. If it were proposed to saddle the bulk of
these expenditures for the relief of the necessitous and the maintenance
of the diseased, maimed, and criminal classes upon the industries in
which their energies were used up, their bodies maimed, or their moral
natures perverted and destroyed, there would be a great outcry. Yet, it
would be much more reasonable and just than the present system, which
permits the physical, mental, and moral ruin to be carried on in the
selfish and sordid interests of a class, and the imposition of the
resulting burden of misery and failure upon the shoulders of society as
a whole.


                                   XI

What are the reasons for the employment of children? It is almost
needless to argue that child labor is socially unnecessary, that the
labor of little boys and girls is not required in order that wealth
sufficient for the needs of society may be produced. If such a claim
were made, it would be an all-sufficing reply to point to the great army
of unemployed men in our midst, and to say that the last man must be
employed before the employment of the first child can be justified. When
there is not an unemployed man, when there is not a man employed in
useless, unproductive, and wasteful labor, if there is then a shortage
of the things necessary for social maintenance, child labor may be
necessary and justifiable. Under any other conditions than these it is
unjustifiable and brutally wrong. In the primitive struggle with the
hostile forces of nature, such struggles as pioneers have had in all
lands before the deserts could be made to yield harvests of fruit and
grain, the labor of wives and children has been necessary to supplement
that of husbands and fathers. But what would be thought of the men,
under such conditions, if they forced their wives and children to work
while they idled, ate, and slept? Yet that is, essentially, the practice
of modern industrial society. Here is a great country with natural
resources unparalleled in human experience for their richness and
variety; here labor is so productive, and inventive genius so highly
developed, that wealth overflows our granaries and warehouses, and
forces us to seek foreign markets for its disposal. The children
employed in our factories are not employed because it would otherwise be
impossible to produce the necessities of life for the nation. The little
five-year-old girl seen by Miss Addams working at night in a Southern
cotton mill was not so employed because it was necessary in order that
the American people might have enough cotton goods to supply their
needs. On the contrary, she was making sheeting for the Chinese
Army![141] Not that she or those by whom she was employed had any
interest in the Chinese Army, but because there was a prospective profit
for the manufacturer in the making of sheeting for sale to China for the
use of her soldiers. The manufacturer would just as readily have
sacrificed little American girls in the manufacture of beads for
Hottentots, or gilt idols for poor Hindoo ryots, if the profit were
equal.

[Illustration:

  A “KINDERGARTEN” TOBACCO FACTORY IN PHILADELPHIA
]

That is the root of the child-labor evil; it has no social justification
and exists only for the sordid gain of profit-seekers. It is not
difficult, therefore, to understand the manufacturers’ interest in child
labor, or their opposition to all efforts to legislate against it. Cheap
production is the maxim of success in industry, and a plentiful supply
of cheap labor is a powerful contributor to that end. The principal
items in productive cost are the raw material and the labor necessary,
the relative importance of each depending upon the nature of the
industry itself. Now, it is obviously to the interest of the
manufacturer, as manufacturer, to get both raw material and labor-power
as cheaply as possible, whether the industry in which he is interested
is governed by competitive, or monopolistic, or any intermediate
conditions. If competition rules, cheapness is vitally important to him,
since if he can get an advantage over his competitors in that respect he
can undersell them, while if he fails to get his supplies of labor and
raw material as cheaply as his competitors, he will be undersold. If, on
the other hand, monopoly conditions prevail, it is still an important
interest to secure them as cheaply as possible, thereby increasing his
profit.

It is an axiom of commercial economy that supply follows demand, and it
is certain that the constant demand for the cheap, tractable labor of
children has had much to do with the creation of the supply. At bottom
the employers, or, rather, the system of production for profit, must be
held responsible for child labor. There are evidences of this on every
hand. We see manufacturers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania getting
children from orphan asylums, regardless of their physical, mental, and
moral ruin, merely because it _pays_ them. When the glass-blowers of
Minotola, N.J., went on strike, in 1902, the child-labor question was
one of their most important issues. The exposures made of the frightful
enslavement of little children attracted widespread attention. There is
very little in the history of the English factory system which excels in
horror the conditions which existed in that little South Jersey town at
the beginning of the twentieth century.[142] When the proprietor of the
factory was asked about the employment of young boys ten and eleven
years of age, many of whom often fell asleep and were awakened by the
men pouring water over them, and at least two of whom died from
overexhaustion, he said: “If two men apply to me for work and one has
one or two or three children and the other has none, I take the man with
children. I need the boys.” In actual practice this meant that no man
could get work as a glass-blower unless he was able to bring boys with
him. A regular padrone system was developed in consequence of this: the
glass-blowers, determined to keep their own boys out of the factories if
possible, secured children from orphan asylums, or took the little boys
of Italian immigrants, boarded them, and paid the parents a regular
weekly sum.

In the mills of the South it is frequently made a condition of the
employment of married men or women that all their children shall be
bound to work in the same mills. The following is one of the rules
posted in a South Carolina cotton mill:—

  “All children, members of a family, above twelve years of age, shall
  work regularly in the mill, and shall not be excused from service
  therein without the consent of the superintendent for good
  cause.”[143]

Many times I have heard fathers and mothers—in the North as well as in
the South—say that they did not want their children to work, that they
could have done without the children’s wages and kept them at school a
little longer, or apprenticed them to better employment, but that they
were compelled to send them into the mills to work, or lose their own
places. Even more eloquent as evidencing the keen demand of the
manufacturers for child labor is the fact to which Mr. McKelway calls
attention, that, in response to their demand, cotton-mill machinery is
being made with adjustable legs to suit small child workers. Mr.
McKelway rightly contrasts this with the experience in India when the
first cotton mills were erected there. Then, for the first time, it was
found necessary to manufacture spinning frames high enough from the
floor to accommodate adult workers.[144]

With such facts as these before us, it is easy to see that the urgency
of the employers’ demands for child labor is an important factor in the
problem. Underlying all other causes is the fundamental fact that the
exploitation of the children is in the interests of the employing class.
It may be urged that it is necessary for children to begin work at an
early age because the work they do cannot be done by men or women, but
the contention is wholly unsupported by facts. There is no work done by
boys in the glass factories which men could not do; no skill or training
is required to enable one to do the work done by breaker boys in the
coal-mines; the work done by children in the textile mills could be done
equally well by adults. The fact that in some cases adults are employed
to do the work which in other cases is done by children, is sufficient
proof that child labor is not resorted to because it is inevitable and
necessary, but on account of its cheapness.

It does not, of course, necessarily follow that low-priced labor is
really cheap labor; it may prove to be just as uneconomical to employ
such labor as to buy poor raw materials merely because they are
low-priced. The quantitative measure is no more satisfactory as a
standard of value when applied to labor than when applied to other
things. Thomas Brassey, the famous English engineer and contractor, used
to declare that the cost of carrying out great works in different
countries did not vary according to the wages paid, and that his
experience had been that in countries where wages were highest the rate
of profit was also highest. Very similar testimony has been given by
many large employers of labor, and the point seems to be fairly well
established. It is said, for instance, that the cost of erecting large
buildings does not differ very much in the great capitals of the world,
though the rate of wages differs enormously, and that in America, where
wages in the building trades are much higher than anywhere else in the
world, the labor cost is really less than elsewhere.[145] In view of
this economic fact, it has been urged that child labor is not cheap
labor, except in a false and uneconomic sense, that it is inefficient,
and that it would be to the interest of the employers themselves to
employ adult labor instead.

Doubtless this argument has been used in the true propagandist spirit of
appealing to as many interests as possible, and proving the sweet
reasonableness of the demand for the abolition of child labor, but I am
inclined to doubt its value. We may, I think, trust the employers to
look after their own interests. It is true that if you put an underpaid
and underfed Italian laborer at a dollar a day to work, and alongside
put a decently fed American laborer at double that wage, you will
probably find the labor of the latter the more profitable; just as
cheap, miserably paid coolie labor is the most expensive of all. But I
do not think it follows that adult labor would be cheaper than child
labor to the employer. Most child labor is made possible by machinery
and conditioned by it, and adult labor would be conditioned by it in the
same manner. There is very little scope for individual differences to
manifest themselves where the machine is the controlling power. In other
industries, such as glass manufacture, where machinery plays a
relatively unimportant part as yet, the labor of the boys is conditioned
by the speed of the men they serve. The men, urged on by the piecework
system, work at their utmost limit of speed, and the boys must keep pace
with them. It is unlikely that if men were employed to do the work now
done by the “snappers-up,” they would be able to increase the speed of
the glass-blowers, the only way in which their labor could prove
cheaper. On the contrary, there is every reason to suppose that men
would not consent to be driven as boys are driven. I have gathered from
glass-blowers themselves that they are very often as much opposed to the
introduction of adult helpers as are their employers, for the reason
that they believe adults would not serve them with the same speed as
boys. For these reasons, and many others into which it is impossible to
enter here, I am convinced that little good will result from a
propaganda aiming to show the employers that their economic interests
would be best served by the abolition of child labor.

In a similar way it has been urged, with ample evidence of its truth,
that the employment of children retards the introduction of mechanical
devices and their fullest development.[146] This is perfectly true, not
only of child labor, but of almost all forms of labor that are
unhealthful or degrading. There is absolutely no need of human street
sweepers, exposed in all weathers and constantly inhaling foul,
disease-laden dust, any more than there is need of little boys working
in the glass factories, carrying red-hot bottles to the ovens. In each
case machinery has been invented to do the work, and it is used to a
small extent. If these occupations, and scores of others, were
absolutely prohibited, and the prohibitory law rigidly enforced, streets
would still be swept, but by mechanical sweepers, and bottles would
still be taken to the annealing ovens, but by mechanical means. The
world will probably, let us hope, never become the paradise dreamed of
by the German dreamer, Etzler, who believed that all the work of the
world would be done by machinery in the future, and human labor become
altogether unnecessary.[147] But there is no doubt that much of the work
which to-day degrades body, brain, and soul could be done just as well
by mechanical agents. Not, however, through sermonizing or appealing to
the employers will these mechanical devices be generally adopted to take
the place of the life-destroying labor of boys and girls; but by making
it increasingly difficult, and finally impossible, for them to employ
child labor at all.

Not long ago I was in a glass factory where the “carrying-in boys” had
been displaced by automatic machinery. As I watched the machine doing
the work I had been accustomed to seeing little boys perform, I asked
the manager of the factory why it had been introduced. His answer was
simple and direct, “Why, because it had become too difficult to get
boys.” A few days later I went into another factory where boys were, as
usual, employed in doing the work. I asked the owner of the factory why
he did not use machinery instead of employing boys. “Because it is not
practicable,” he replied. “We must have boys and can’t do without them.”
When I told him that I had seen the work done by machinery with perfect
satisfaction, he laughed. “Yes, that is true, but I still say that it is
not a practicable proposal,” he rejoined. “I mean that it is not a
practical business proposition. I am not interested in machinery, as
machinery, and if I can get all the boys I want, at wages making their
labor no more expensive than the cost of running machinery, why should I
tie up two or three thousand dollars of my capital to install machines?
So long as I can get boys enough, I don’t want to bother with machines.”
Then I asked: “What would you do if you could not get boys—if their
employment was forbidden, and the law strictly enforced?” His reply was
suggestive. “Why, then machinery would be the only thing; then it would
be a practical business proposition,” he said.

[Illustration:

  A GLASS FACTORY AT NIGHT
]

I have given this manufacturer’s opinion, as nearly as possible in his
own words, because it is an admirably clear statement of what I believe
to be the natural attitude of the employing class upon a grave question.
All that stands in the way of a general use of machinery to do the work
now performed at such an enormous cost in human life and happiness, is
the temporary inconvenience of the employers from having to tie up some
of their capital. Just as the woollen manufacturers in England, as soon
as they were debarred from employing children, adopted the piecing
machine,[148] so the employers of America to-day would have no
difficulty about securing machinery, much of it already invented, if the
employment of children should be forbidden. But, generally speaking,
they will not of themselves make the change.


                                  XII

It is less easy to understand the problem of child labor in its relation
to parental responsibility. It is continually asked: “Why do parents
send their little ones to work at such an early age? Is it possible that
there are so many parents who are so indifferent to the welfare of their
children that they send them to work, and surround them with perils and
evil influences, or are there other, deeper reasons? Are the parents
helpless to save their little ones?” These are questions which have
never yet been satisfactorily answered; they deal with a phase of the
problem which has never been fully investigated, notwithstanding that it
is of vital importance.

As already noted, when the manufacturers of England sought first to get
child workers for the cotton and woollen mills, they found the parents
arrayed against them, defending their children. For a long time no
self-respecting father or mother would allow a child to go to the
factories to work, and it remained for many years a brand of social
disgrace to have one’s children so employed. Not until their pride was
conquered by poverty, not until they were subjugated by hunger and
compelled to surrender and accept the inevitable, did the parents send
their children into the factories. It was poverty, bitter poverty, which
led the first “free” child into the mills to economic servitude, and I
am disposed to think that poverty is still the main reason why parents
send their children to body-and-soul-destroying toil.

Many of those whose work for the enactment of legislation to protect the
children from the ills of premature labor entitles them to lasting honor
and gratitude, have shown an inclination to minimize the extent to which
poverty is responsible for child labor. The opponents of child-labor
legislation have so strongly insisted upon the hardships which would
follow if parents were deprived of their children’s earnings, and have
so eloquently pleaded the cause of the “poor widowed mothers,” as almost
to make the employment of children appear as a philanthropic enterprise.
Very often, it seems to me, the advocates of child-labor legislation, in
their eagerness to refute their critics, have resorted to arguments
which rest upon exceedingly slight foundations of fact, and, in this
case especially, laid insufficient stress upon the logical answer. The
more closely the problem is scrutinized and investigated, the larger the
influence of poverty will appear, I think. At the same time, it is well
to remember that poverty is not the only cause by any means. There are
many other causes, some closely associated with poverty, others only
remotely or not at all. Ignorance, cupidity, indifference, feverish
ambition to “get on,”—these are a few of the many other causes which
might be named.

It is declared, then, that actual inquiry has shown that the claim that
the earnings of the children are necessary to the support of the family,
and that widows and others would suffer serious poverty if their
children under fifteen were not permitted to work, is “rarely if ever
justified.” Mrs. Frederick Nathan, of the Consumers’ League of the City
of New York, whose splendid devotion to the cause of social
righteousness lends weight to her words, expresses this view with
admirable clearness. She says: “Whenever preventive measures for child
labor are enacted or enforced, there is always a wail heard to the
effect that the child’s labor is absolutely requisite for the living
expenses of the family. Yet, upon investigation, this statement is
rarely corroborated. In Illinois, there was recently enacted a law
prohibiting children under sixteen from working more than eight hours a
day, or after 7 P.M. Thousands of diminutive toilers were discharged.
Then a cry of hardship went up in behalf of hundreds of families.
Philanthropic women undertook an investigation, supposing they would
find a number of cases in which the wages of the working child were
absolutely necessary to the family income. To their amazement they found
only three families in Chicago, and five in the remainder of the state,
where this was true. In every other case it was discovered that either
the parent or older children could support the family, or some relative
was willing to assist until the child reached the legal age.”[149]

Where there are so many coöperating causes, it would be easy to
overestimate the importance of any one, and correspondingly easy to
underestimate it. How the investigations in Illinois were conducted,
what standards were adopted by the investigators, I do not know, and
cannot, therefore, in the absence of specified data, express an opinion
upon the validity of the conclusions drawn. Frankly, however, I distrust
them. Not long since I heard of a case in which a “philanthropic lady
investigator” decided that the wages of a child of thirteen were not
necessary to the maintenance of the family, because she “had a father in
regular employment.” It did not, apparently, occur to her that $9 a week
was too little to support decently a family of six persons.

Whatever the nature of the Illinois investigation, I am certain that in
my own experience the proportion of cases in which there is actual
dependence upon what the children earn is very much larger. It must not
be forgotten in discussing this question that although a child may earn
only $1.50 a week, that sum may mean a great deal to the family. It may
mean the difference between living in a comparatively good house on a
decent street and going to a foul tenement in a bad neighborhood. It may
mean the difference between coal and no coal in winter, or ice and no
ice in summer. As a poor woman said to me quite recently, “Joe only
earns thirty cents a day, but that thirty cents means supper for all
five in the family.” The investigations of Mr. Nichols in the
coal-mining and textile-manufacturing towns,[150] of Mr. Kellogg
Durland,[151] and, particularly, the inquiries made in New Jersey
concerning the immediate effects of the Child Labor Law of 1904,[152]
all tend to show that the dependence of families upon children’s
earnings is much greater than the Illinois figures would indicate. I
venture the opinion that there is not a Settlement worker in America who
has studied this problem whose experience would confirm the optimism of
the Illinois investigators. I am certain that within a radius of three
blocks from the little Settlement in which this is written, and with
which I am at present most familiar, there are more families known to be
absolutely dependent upon the earnings of young children than were found
in the whole State of Illinois, according to the report quoted. I know
of at least twice as many such families as were found in Illinois living
in this little city with its population of about sixty thousand as
against the nearly 5,000,000 in Illinois. Settlement workers in various
parts of the country have, without exception, declared the Illinois
report to be absolutely at variance with their experience.

In the hope that I might be able to gather sufficient accurate data to
warrant some fairly definite conclusions upon this point, I spent
several weeks making careful personal investigations into the matter in
four states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. I
made inquiries into 213 cases, first getting the children’s stories and
then carefully investigating them. The results are clearly set forth in
the accompanying schedule, but explanation of a few points may be
helpful to the reader.

In choosing a wage standard to represent the primary poverty line, I
somewhat arbitrarily fixed upon $10 per week. In either of the four
states named, such a wage must mean poverty and lead to the employment
of children at the earliest possible moment. Intemperance appears in
four cases, but that does not mean that it did not enter into other
cases at all. In the four cases noted the fathers were earning from $12
to $18 per week, and while it is possible that with such wages they
might be honestly and honorably poor, since even $18 is not a very
princely wage, it is a fact that their expenditures upon drink
constituted the real cause of the poverty which forced their children to
work. On the other hand, I do not suppose that all the cases of child
labor due to the primary poverty of their families are noted. In the
last column several cases are given of children who were “sick when
attending school,” or who “could not get on at school.” For reasons
given in an earlier chapter, I am inclined to believe that these cases
would have to be transferred to the other column if it were only
possible to investigate them more fully.

        TABLE SHOWING REASONS FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF 213 CHILDREN

 ═══════════╤═══════════════════╤═══════════════════╤═══════════════════
   No. of   │  Occupations[F]   │Reasons given which│Reasons given Other
  Children  │                   │ indicate Primary  │   than Apparent
            │                   │      Poverty      │  Primary Poverty
 ───────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────
 Boys,   34.│Glass factory      │Wages of father   9│Parents saving    8
            │  Workers.[G]      │  less than $10    │  money to buy
            │                   │  per week         │  their homes,
            │                   │                   │  etc.
            │                   │Father sick or    5│Children working  2
            │                   │  injured          │  to keep father
            │                   │                   │  who is able to
            │                   │                   │  work but won’t
            │                   │Father dead       2│
            │                   │Father            1│
            │                   │  unemployed       │
            │                   │Father in prison  1│Not determined    6
 ───────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────
 Boys,   23.│Textile mill       │Wages of father  14│Tired of school  13
            │  workers.         │  less than $10    │
            │                   │  per week         │
 Girls,  57.│                   │Father            6│Discouraged by    6
            │                   │  unemployed       │  being “put
            │                   │                   │  back” at
            │                   │                   │  school every
            │                   │                   │  time family
            │                   │                   │  moved
            │                   │Father dead       5│Parents saving    5
            │                   │                   │  the money
            │                   │Father sick or    6│Because           9
            │                   │  injured          │  companions
            │                   │                   │  went to work
            │                   │Father deserted   2│To get better     4
            │                   │  family           │  clothes
            │                   │Father drunkard   1│Not determined    9
 ───────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────
 Boys,   33.│Cigarette,         │Father’s wage    14│Because friends   6
            │  cigar, and       │  less than $10    │  worked
            │  tobacco          │  per week         │
            │  workers.         │                   │
 Girls,  22.│                   │Father dead       3│Tired of school   5
            │                   │Father sick or    4│Parents saving    4
            │                   │  injured          │  money
            │                   │Father            4│To get better     3
            │                   │  unemployed       │  clothes
            │                   │Father drunkard   3│Sick while at     2
            │                   │                   │  school
            │                   │                   │Not determined    7
 ───────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────
 Boys,   18.│Delivery wagon    4│Wages of father  15│Couldn’t get on   6
            │  boys             │  less than $10    │  at  school
            │                   │  per week         │
 Girls,  26.│Match packers    12│Father dead       2│To get better     4
            │                   │                   │  clothes
            │Candy factory    10│Father sick or    4│Because friends   3
            │  girls            │  injured          │  went to work
            │Wire factory      7│Father            2│Sick while at     3
            │  workers          │  unemployed       │  school
            │Rubber factory   11│Father deserted   2│Not determined    3
            │  workers          │  family           │
 ───────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────
 Boys,  108.│                   │Low wages        52│School           30
            │                   │                   │  difficulties
 Girls, 105.│                   │Unemployment     13│Because friends  18
            │                   │                   │  went to work
            │                   │Father’s death   12│To get better    11
            │                   │                   │  clothes
            │                   │Father’s         19│To enable        17
            │                   │  sickness         │  parents to
            │                   │                   │  save
            │                   │Father’s          4│Sickness of       5
            │                   │  desertion of     │  child while at
            │                   │  family           │  school
            │                   │Father’s          4│Father’s          2
            │                   │  intemperance     │  laziness
            │                   │Father in prison  1│Not determined   25
 ───────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────
 Total, 213.│                   │Total, 105 = 49.30%│Total, 108 = 50.70%
 ═══════════╧═══════════════════╧═══════════════════╧═══════════════════

I do not offer this table as conclusive testimony upon the point under
discussion. The number of cases investigated is too small to give the
results more than suggestive value. Personally, I believe that the cases
given are fairly typical, and that is the opinion also of some of the
leading authorities upon the subject to whom I have submitted the table.
No private investigator can ever hope to investigate a sufficient number
of cases to establish anything conclusively in this connection. What is
needed most of all is a coöperative investigation under the direction of
the leading sociological students of the country until such extensive
returns are gathered as will justify more positive conclusions. In the
meantime such tables as this can at best only serve to call attention to
what _may_ be a general fact.

The table shows more than mere poverty. First of all there is the
senseless, feverish, natural ambition of the immigrant to save money, to
be rich. “Ma boy getta much mona—I get richa man,” said one of the
Italians included in the first line of the fourth column of the
foregoing table. How often I have heard that speech! Not always in the
broken music of Italian-English, but in the many-toned, curious English
of Bohemian, Lithuanian, Scandinavian, Russian, Pole, and Greek—all
drawn by the same powerful magnet of wealth—all sacrificing, ignorantly
and blindly, the lives of themselves and their children in their fevered
quest. In this, as in so many other problems of the republic, the
immigration of hundreds of thousands of people of alien races, customs,
and speech enters. Whether their admission is wise or unwise is a
subject outside the scope of this discussion, but one thing is certain,
and as vital as it is true, namely, that hospitality has its obligations
and duties. If the nation is to receive these immigrants, the nation
must accept the responsibility of protecting them and itself. It must
protect the immigrants from the dangers which their ignorance does not
permit them to see, and protect itself from having to bear in the near
future an Atlantean load; an economic burden which must come to it if
these “strangers within the gates” in their ignorance are allowed to
barter the manhood of their sons and the womanhood of their daughters
for gold.

The virtual breakdown of our school system is one of the gravest
problems indicated by the table and enforced by general observation. The
children who go to work in factories and mines because they are “tired
of school,” or “because they could not learn,” are, it is to be feared,
not always but too often, the victims of undernutrition. The school
spends all its energies in the vain attempt to educate wasting minds in
starving bodies, and then the child, already physically and mentally
ruined, goes to the mine or the factory, there to linger on as
half-starved plants in arid soil sometimes linger, or to fade away as a
summer flower fades in a day. Poverty began the ruin of the child by
denying it proper nourishment, and ignorance and greed combine to
complete the ruin by sending the child in its weakness forth to labor.

The other reasons for the employment of children shown in the table
cannot be discussed separately. The moral contagion of poverty and
ignorance, evidenced by the number of those who work, not from
necessity, but because their friends work, is not new to those who have
studied this and kindred problems. The influence of a single family in
lowering the moral and economic standards of a whole street, especially
in our smaller towns, is notorious. The pathos of the mothers of
families who are worse than widows, with their drunken, dissolute
husbands, and the tragedy of little child lives crushed by brutal,
selfish, indolent fathers who place the responsibility of maintaining
the family upon their young shoulders, are familiar phases of the
problem of child labor.

It is a solemn responsibility which the presence of this menacing evil
of child labor places upon the nation. It is not only the interests of
the children themselves that are menaced; even more important and
terrible is the thought that civilization itself is imperilled when
children are dwarfed physically, mentally, and morally by hunger, heavy
toil, and unwholesome surroundings. If one of the forts along our
far-stretching coasts were attacked by an enemy, or if a single square
mile of our immense territory were invaded, the nation would rise in
patriotic unison, and there would be no lack either of men or money for
the defence. Surely, it is not too much to hope that, before long, the
nation will realize in the destruction of its future citizens by greed
and ignorance a far more serious attack upon the republic than any that
could be made by fleets or armed legions. To sap the strength and weaken
the moral fibres of the children is to grind the seed corn, to wreck the
future for to-day’s fleeting gain.

A great Frenchman once said of the alphabet, “These twenty-six letters
contain all the good things that ever were, or ever can be, said,—only
they need to be arranged.” To complete the truth of this aphorism, he
should have included all the bad things as well. And so it is with the
children of a nation. Capable of expressing all the good or evil the
world has known or may know, it is essentially a matter of arrangement,
opportunity, environment. Whether the children of to-day become
physical, mental, and moral cretins, or strong men and women, fathers
and mothers of virile sons and daughters, depends upon the decision of
the nation. If the responsibility of this is fully recognized, and the
employment of children under fifteen years of age is forbidden
throughout the length and breadth of this great country; if the nation
realizes that the demand for the protection of the children is the
highest patriotism, and enfolds every child within its strong,
protecting arms, then and not till then will it be possible to look with
confidence toward the future, unashamed and unafraid.

-----

Footnote E:

  “Messenger boys” includes errand boys in stores.

Footnote F:

  No inquiry was made among mine workers because, on account of the
  large number of boys whose fathers have been killed or permanently
  disabled, the data would be less representative. (See Roberts’
  _Anthracite Coal Communities_, p. 176.)

Footnote G:

  Mostly foreign born or the children of foreign-born parents, Slavs and
  Italians. The entire absence of reference to school matters is
  suggestive. Most of them never entered a school.



                                   IV
                           REMEDIAL MEASURES

                “But pity will not right the wrong,
                Nor doles return the stolen youth;
                When tasks are done without a song
                And bargains wrung at cost of truth,
                ’Tis mockery to talk of ruth.”
                                            —DAVID LOWE.


                                   I

Having stated the problem of poverty, as it bears upon the child, as
plainly and comprehensively as possible, I would fain leave it without
further comment, feeling with Whewell that, “Rightly to propose a
problem is no inconsiderable step towards its solution,” and believing
that once the facts are known, and their significance understood, reform
cannot be long delayed. Beyond the measures briefly suggested in the
preceding pages, I would gladly leave the whole subject of remedial
action untouched, regarding the purpose of this book as fulfilled in the
statement of the problem itself. But when I have submitted the substance
of the evidence herein presented to those whose knowledge and experience
entitle them to be regarded as experts, or to popular audiences in the
form of lectures, they have, with scarcely an exception, expressed the
view that the statement of such a problem should be accompanied by some
suggestions as to its solution; some indication of social and individual
duty, lest the result be heaviness of heart and blackness of despair.

Whoever has seriously contemplated the misery and suffering which, like
a poisonous cloud, encompasses modern society, must have experienced
doubts and fears for the future, and, like the chastened patriarch of
Uz, felt his hope “plucked up like a tree.” So many of the beacons that
have shone out over the rough, perilous path of Humanity’s pilgrimage
have turned out to be false lights, like the swinging lantern-lights of
the old Cornubian wreckers, which lured trusting mariners to head their
vessels to destruction upon the rocks, that we sometimes lose faith and
despair of the visions of world-ecstasy, the “passionate prefigurings of
a world revivified,” with which the seers of the race have beckoned us
onward. And such despair blights and starves the soul of progress. When
men cease to yearn for, and to believe in, justice, when they no longer
aspire to social perfection, when old men cease to dream dreams, and
young men to see visions of a nobler world than this economic anarchy,
there can be no progress. Beautiful ideals seem to mock us at times, but
it is doubtful if ever a beautiful ideal found lodgment in the heart of
the humblest man without enriching the world.

If I were asked wherein the hope of the future lies, I should adopt for
answer the message of a great rock. Travelling along the Yellowstone
River, in the autumn of 1904, I saw an immense rock column, a veritable
landmark for many miles, upon which some enthusiast had painted in large
red letters, “Socialism is the Hope of the World.” Doubtless some
ranchman, dreaming of a future world-righteousness, had conceived the
idea of making that great natural obelisk a missionary for the faith he
held, just as other enthusiasts had pasted the similar legends I had
seen along the trails of the North Dakota prairies. I share that faith
and hope, and believe that nothing short of the socialization of the
means of life will ever fully and finally solve the problems inhering in
our present industrial system, resulting in strife, bitterness, and the
denial of human brotherhood. But long, weary years of suffering and
struggle stretch between the present and that ideal state of the future.
Socialism will, it is to be devoutly hoped, save the world from red ruin
and anarchy and make possible a sweeter, nobler heritage for the
generations yet unborn. But the most sanguine Socialist must see that it
is little short of mockery to talk of the future triumph of his ideal in
connection with the problem of relieving present misery and distress, to
answer the hunger-cry of to-day with the promise of a coöperative
commonwealth in far-off years. All the Socialist parties of the world,
with the exception of a few minor and unimportant factions, frankly
recognize this and have formulated programmes of palliative measures for
the amelioration of present evils. So far as I am aware, no
non-Socialist political party has ever included in its programme demands
for such measures as the abolition of child labor, the feeding of school
children by the municipality, and the maintenance of municipal
_crèches_—demands which are included in practically all Socialist
programmes. In suggesting only such remedial measures as may be taken by
society or individuals within the present social state, and involving no
fundamental change in the social structure, I do so, therefore, as one
believing in the ultimate necessity of such change, and the right of
every child born into the world to equal opportunity and equal share in
all the gifts and resources of civilization.


                                   II

In view of all the difficulties by which the problem is surrounded, the
uncertain results which have attended some of the most intelligent and
sincere efforts in that direction, he would be foolish indeed who
ventured to dogmatize upon the reduction of the infantile death-rate, or
the best methods to be adopted toward that end. There are, however,
certain well-established facts, certain verities, upon which I would
insist. It is perfectly obvious, for instance, that every child should
be ushered into the world with loving tenderness, and with all the skill
and care possible. The slightest blunder of an incompetent, unskilled
midwife may involve fatal consequences to mother or child, or such
injuries as are irreparable.[153] So that the very first principle upon
which everybody agrees, theoretically at least, involves the need of
important legislative reform providing for the supervision of midwives,
and the establishment of a system of training and education without
which no midwife should be allowed to practise. That such a law would
have the effect of materially lowering the rate of infant mortality, as
well as that of mothers, no one who has ever given the matter serious
consideration can doubt. From personal observation, and the testimony of
gynecologists and obstetricians of large experience, I am satisfied that
this reform alone would save many hundreds of lives each year, alike of
mothers and infants. It is appalling to think of the large number of
ignorant women who are practising as midwives. Many of them have no
conception of the importance of their work; they are often dirty and
careless, as well as ignorant of the first principles of obstetrical
science. Knowing nothing of the need or value of antiseptic precautions,
they are responsible for thousands of cases of blood-poisoning every
year, and because they are ignorant of the methods of restoring
asphyxiated infants they kill thousands of babes in the passage from the
wombs of their suffering mothers.[154]

In most states there is very little supervision of midwives; in some
cases practically none at all. New York, always rather prone to take
pride in its record upon such matters, has regulations which are wofully
inadequate. All that is necessary to enable a woman to practise as a
midwife is: (1) a certificate or diploma from some school of midwifery,
native or foreign, or (2) signed statements as to her fitness and
character from two physicians. No inquiry whatever is made into the
_bona fides_ or character of the school granting the certificate, nor
are the physicians held responsible in any way for the women they
recommend.[155] So long as the applicant meets either of the foregoing
slight requirements, the authorities must issue her a permit to practise
as a midwife. She becomes a “registered midwife,” and the title creates
an altogether unwarranted confidence in the minds of the people. It is
not only the poor, illiterate immigrants who are thus deceived, but many
very intelligent citizens are under the impression that a “registered
midwife” has had some sort of training. Immigrants coming from countries
like Germany, where all midwives have to undergo a thorough training,
are naturally unsuspicious of the fact that here we have nothing of the
kind. It is impossible to present the evil results of the employment of
untrained and incompetent midwives statistically, or even to estimate
them. Some idea may be gathered from the fact that, while the physicians
of the New York Lying-in Hospital, in 1904, attended over four thousand
confinements, 2766 _of them in the tenement districts_ among the very
poor, with only _three deaths_,[156] one midwife, in a very similar
tenement district, showed me a list of _sixty-two cases_ she had
attended with _five deaths_. And she spoke proudly of her “good record”!

[Illustration:

  A FREE INFANTS’ MILK DEPOT (MUNICIPAL), BRUSSELS
]

In Germany for some years midwives have had to pass a regular
examination. In England, under the Midwife Act of 1902, they are placed
under a much stricter supervision than ever before, and are made
responsible for the cleanliness and care of mother and child during the
lying-in period of ten days. While it is felt that this law is
inadequate, it is believed that its enforcement tends to improve
conditions materially. For years the New York County Medical Association
and other medical societies of standing, supported by Boards of Health
and the leaders of the medical profession, have tried to get legislation
enacted providing for the establishment of a standard of education and
training for midwives. In every state legislation of a uniform character
should be enacted providing that no person shall practise as a midwife
or accoucheur without having first undergone a thorough training and
passed an examination set by the State Board of Regents or some similar
authority. They should be held responsible for malpractice,
incompetence, or neglect, just as physicians are held responsible. While
it is true that such a reform would inflict a certain amount of hardship
and suffering upon many women, on the other hand, it would raise
midwifery to the dignity of a profession, and provide lucrative
avocations for many other women. In any case, it is a most tragic folly
to set the hardship involved against the enormous gain to society.

It is probable that such trained midwives would command a much higher
rate of remuneration for their services than many of the incompetent
women who now act in that capacity, and that many poor mothers would be
unable to afford to employ them. Even now there are thousands of women
who cannot afford attendance of any kind at their lying-in, and doctors
tell of children, little girls ten years old,[157] for instance, caring
for their mothers through the pain and peril of parturition and for the
newly born children. The remedy for such a condition lies, not in the
employment of incompetent midwives licensed to destroy life because they
are willing to do it “cheaply,” but in the extension of free medical
service, maternity hospitals, and properly trained midwives as part of
our district nursing services. This subject of the extension of our
public medical service is a most important one. There is a tendency in
some quarters to decry everything of this nature, and to magnify unduly
the extent to which such services are abused. That they are sometimes
abused, if by that term is understood their use by those who could
afford to pay for such services, is undoubtedly true, though it would be
easy to overestimate the extent of such abuses. On the other hand, it is
certain that in many of our cities we have scarcely begun to make
provision for the needs of the suffering poor. It is astonishing to find
a manufacturing city of more than sixty thousand inhabitants, with a
tenement-house problem as distressing as that of New York City, and with
the most appalling poverty, having no city physician upon whom the
suffering poor can call by right. I do not know if there are many other
cities in the United States so utterly indifferent to the claims of the
sick poor as Yonkers, the “city of beautiful homes and great industries”
upon the Hudson, but I do know that there are many cities in which there
is a sad and shameful failure to provide proper medical care and
attention for the needy.


                                  III

In order that the child may be surrounded at its birth with all possible
care and skill, it must be born somewhere else than upon the floor of a
factory. Notwithstanding all that may be said in its favor, it is little
likely that the Jevonian proposal to forbid the employment of any mother
within a period of three years from the date of the birth of her
youngest child will be adopted for many years to come, if ever at all.
Among the foremost opponents of such a proposal would be many of the
advocates and defenders of “women’s rights,” begging the whole question
of children’s rights, and ignoring the question whether it can ever be
“right” for mothers to leave their babies and enter the factory,
displacing men, or, what is finally the same thing, lowering their
wages. It would be difficult, however, to imagine any such opposition to
the proposal that the employment of women should be forbidden within a
period of six weeks or two months prior to and following childbirth.
Decency and humanity alike suggest that such a law should be embodied in
the factory legislation of every industrial state, as is the case in
most countries at the present time.

With our cosmopolitan population it is certain that the enforcement of
such a law would be no easy matter.[158] Little difficulty would seem to
be necessarily involved in the enforcement of the period of rest _after_
confinement; all that would be necessary would be to insist upon a copy
of the birth certificate of the youngest child, accompanied by the sworn
statement of the mother. If the whole onus of responsibility were placed
upon the employer, and penalties were imposed in a few cases, there is
no reason to suppose that the law in this respect would be less
effective than other laws relating to employment. That it would not be
perfectly successful is no more an argument against its enactment than
the partial failure of child-labor laws, for example, is an argument for
their repeal. But the period of exemption prior to childbirth is a much
more delicate and difficult matter. It has not, I believe, been found
possible in European countries to enforce the law in this direction with
as much success as in the other, but the results have been sufficiently
successful, nevertheless, to warrant continued effort. In actual
practice such a law would have a tendency, doubtless, to discourage the
employment of married women in factories, since employers as a rule
would not care to take the trouble, or to assume the risks, thus
involved in their employment.

But, as already noted, if working mothers are to be forced into
prolonged periods of idleness, in the interests of their offspring and
the future of society, some means must be provided whereby they may be
maintained and secured against want. The philanthropic experiments noted
in an earlier chapter owed all their success to such provisions. While
it would perhaps be too Utopian to advocate as a measure for immediate
adoption state pensions for childhood and youth as well as old age, as
Mr. C. Hanford Henderson does in his wonderfully suggestive and
stimulating book, _Education and the Larger Life_, it is not, it seems
to me, too much to demand that the state shall (1) allow no mother to
imperil her own life and that of her offspring by working too close to
the period of parturition, nor (2) allow any mother to suffer want
because she is prevented from, or of her own free will and intelligence
avoids, such work. If the right of the child to be well born, to be
ushered into the world with loving care and all the skill possible, is
to be anything but a mere cant phrase, the safeguards thus briefly
sketched cannot, it seems to me, be lightly denied. Recently I visited
the stables of a friend interested in the breeding of horses. I saw that
he had taken great care and pains to secure a well-trained veterinary
surgeon, that the brood mares were patiently and lovingly cared for and
tended, both before and after foaling. No humane and intelligent breeder
of animals would deny them the protection and care here suggested for
human beings. Until the state is willing to care for its children, at
least as well as enlightened individuals care for their horses, or their
dogs, it is mockery to speak of it as being “civilized”!


                                   IV

The foregoing proposals relate only to the conditions surrounding the
child at birth, but it is equally the duty of society to safeguard the
whole period of childhood. In its own interest, no less than in the
interest of the child, the state should protect every child from all
that menaces its life and well-being. Before the British
Interdepartmental Committee many witnesses, some of them factory
surgeons of long experience, testified to the harm resulting from the
employment of mothers and the leaving of infants in the care of children
or old persons utterly incompetent to care for them. It was proposed
that the employment of married women in factories should be forbidden,
except in cases where there are children “absolutely dependent on their
wages.” In all such cases “the municipality must make provision for the
care of the child while the mother is at work.”[159] As a minimum, this
is a good and practicable proposal, though it falls far short of the
ideal. Much more commendable for its humane good sense is the method
adopted in some of the Socialist municipalities of France. In the case
of widows and others with children absolutely dependent upon their
earnings, these municipalities pay the mothers a weekly or monthly
pension, thus enabling them to stay at home with their children.[160]
With characteristic good sense and courage, Mr. Homer Folks has proposed
a similar system of pensions to widows and others dependent upon the
wages of children, on the principle that the poverty of its parents
ought not to be allowed to despoil a child’s life and rob it of
opportunities of healthful physical and mental development.[161] That is
a perfectly sound principle, it seems to me, which applies with equal
force to the working mother; for it is surely just as important to
insist that poverty shall not be allowed to rob the child of its
mother’s care.

[Illustration:

  A GROUP OF WORKING MOTHERS

  Photograph taken in the yard of a Day Nursery, where the babies are
    left during their mothers’
  absence at work.
]

Wherever possible, then, I believe that the effort of society should be
to keep the mother in the home with her children, and where pensions are
necessary in order that this result may be attained, they should be
given, not as a charity, but as a right. It would be a very good
investment for society, much more profitable than many things upon which
immense sums are lavished year by year. In the meantime, much good might
be accomplished by the establishment of municipal _crèches_ or day
nurseries in all our industrial centres, so that babies and young
children could be properly cared for during the absence of their mothers
at work. Something is already being done in this direction by private
philanthropy in many cities, but it is exceedingly little when compared
with the magnitude of the need. In saying that these institutions should
be provided by the municipality, or by the state, I do not mean that any
attempt should be made to prohibit private philanthropic effort in this
direction, nor that such effort should be in any way lessened; but that
the municipality or the state should accept final responsibility in the
matter, and provide them wherever the failure of philanthropy makes such
a course necessary. In all our great cities, as well as in many of the
smaller manufacturing towns, there should be such a _crèche_ or nursery
in the neighborhood of almost every primary school, until it is found
possible to enable the mothers to remain with their little ones instead
of going to work. With trained nurses in charge of such institutions, it
would be easy to control the dietary of the infants and to see that they
were not given pickles, candy, or other unwholesome things. Yet such a
system, no matter how perfected, can only be regarded as a makeshift, a
rather uneconomical substitute for the humane system of keeping the
mother with her child.

The heavy death-rate in most foundling hospitals, despite all scientific
care and the most elaborate equipment, have been accounted for by the
lack of maternal interest and affection. In the splendidly appointed
Infants’ Hospital on Randall’s Island New York City, little lonely,
mother-sick foundlings pined away at an alarming rate and died like
flies until the Joint Committee of the Association for Improving the
Condition of the Poor, and the State Charity Aid Association,
investigated the matter. The Joint Committee wisely decided that every
one of the bits of human driftwood was entitled to one pair of mother’s
arms, and that no institutional ingenuity could ever take the place of
the maternal instinct. They instituted a system of placing-out the
children with foster mothers, and the results have been highly
gratifying.[162] That is the human way, answering to the universal
child-instinct for a mother’s love and presence. The same objection
applies to _crèches_ as to foundling hospitals; the difference is only
one of degree. These institutions are far better for the children than
the neglect or the ignorant handling of “little mothers” from which they
now suffer, but they can never compare in efficiency with the personal
attention of the mother. There are few mothers, be they ever so
ignorant, who would not attend their own children with greater
efficiency than any institution nurses could do. In the ultimate result
I am convinced that the pensioning of mothers to care for their children
adopted by the French municipalities where the Socialists have obtained
control is much more economical and effective.


                                   V

The importance of impure milk as a contributing cause of infant
mortality is now pretty generally recognized. The splendid work of Mr.
Nathan Straus has done much more, perhaps, than anything else, to
emphasize this fact. In view of some rather caustic criticisms of
charity in the preceding pages, it may be well if I embrace this
opportunity to explain my position somewhat more fully. No one, I think,
recognizes more fully than I do the important experimental work which
has been done by philanthropic enterprise. Such work, of which that of
Mr. Straus is a conspicuous example, has blazed the path for much
municipal and state enterprise. It would be impossible to overestimate
the value of the work done by social settlements and such bodies. For
the charity which denies justice and seeks to fill its place, I have no
sympathy, but for the charity which adopts as its motto the fine phrase
adopted by the ablest journal of philanthropy in America,[H]—“Charity
to-day may be Justice to-morrow,”—I have nothing but praise.

[Illustration:

  A “CLEAN MILK” DISTRIBUTING CENTRE IN A BAKER’S SHOP, ROCHESTER, N.Y.
]

I have long held the opinion that the milk supply of every city should
be made a matter of municipal responsibility. Some ten years ago, while
residing in England, where the subject was then beginning to be
discussed and agitated, I devoted a good deal of time to the propaganda
of the movement for the municipalization of the milk supply. In view of
the splendid achievement of the _gouttes de lait_ in France, it was
natural that we should have attached much importance to the
sterilization of the milk, and I remember with what enthusiasm some of
us hailed the introduction of the system into St. Helen’s, Lancashire,
the first English city to adopt it. I am convinced now that
sterilization is unnecessary and a grave mistake. Undoubtedly it is well
that dirty or impure milk should be sterilized, but it would be still
better to have clean, pure milk which needed no sterilization. The
testimony of Dr. Ralph M. Vincent before the British Interdepartmental
Committee[163] and, more emphatically still, the splendid results of the
Rochester experiment under the leadership of Dr. Goler[164] show that
this can be attained. Every municipality in America could adopt, and
should adopt, the plan. “Now that the way has been shown, upon ‘city
fathers’ indifferent to the childhood of their cities, upon health
officers and departments warped into unbudgeable routine, upon
near-sighted charity workers and unknowing givers who care for the
suffering, but do not get at causes, will rest the responsibility for
the continuance of a part of that fearful tally of dead babies which
each summer’s week jots down on a town’s death-roll—your town and ours.”
In these direct, unequivocal words _Charities_ sums up the whole
question of responsibility.

The purely experimental work of such philanthropic efforts as that of
Mr. Straus has been done. The practicability and value of municipal
control of the milk supply has been abundantly proven, and there is no
longer need of private charitable effort and experiment. There lurks a
danger in leaving this important public service to philanthropy, a
danger well-nigh as great as in leaving it to private commercial
enterprise. The dangers arising from the amateurish meddling of
“near-sighted charity workers and unknowing givers” is much greater than
is generally recognized. Many of these charitable societies drag out a
precarious existence, their usefulness and success depending upon the
measure of success attending the efforts of the “begging committees.”
Generally speaking, they are less economical, and, what is more
important, less effective, than municipal enterprises, besides being
based upon a fatally unsound and demoralizing principle. I know of one
large city in which a number of public-spirited citizens have for some
years interested themselves in the supply of sterilized milk for
infants. Notwithstanding that they receive each year in subscriptions a
much larger amount of money, in proportion to the milk supplied, than
Rochester’s deficit, they charge the parents more than twice as much as
the latter city for the milk.

Nor is this all; there are other, weightier objections than this. There
are no regular depots for the distribution of the milk, under the direct
supervision of the Committee, but it is handled by drug-store keepers
and others. No sort of control is exercised over the sale. Any child can
go into the store and buy a bottle of milk. This is what happens: small
children, sometimes not more than four or five years old, are sent by
their parents to buy the milk. These little children are, naturally,
ignorant of the importance which the medical advisers of the charity
attach to the subject of modifications of the milk to suit the age of
the child to whom it is to be given, with the result that babies less
than three months old are given milk intended for babies eighteen months
old, while the latter are half starved upon the modified milk intended
for the former. Another evil, not, I am told, peculiar to this
particular charitable society, is the selling of milk irregularly and in
single bottles. When the mothers have the money, or when they are not
too busy to go for the Pasteurized milk, they buy a single bottle, but
at other times they send out to the grocery store for cheaper milk, or
else feed the babies upon ordinary table foods. Of course, there should
be a system of registration adopted; every child’s name should be
enrolled, together with the date of its birth, and no less than a full
day’s supply should be sold. That is the custom where the matter has
been taken up by the municipal authorities. The result is that the
children can be weighed and examined more or less regularly; facilities
are offered for the periodical visiting of the homes of the infants and
their inspection; mothers can be taught how to care for their little
ones; and, instead of leaving it to chance, or depending upon the word
of an ignorant mother, or a child, the attendants in charge are able to
regulate the supply so that at the proper time each child gets milk of
the proper strength and richness. How far the abuses I have named are
prevalent in philanthropic experiments of this kind, I do not know, but
I am convinced that there should be no room for such well-intentioned
but disastrous muddling. The whole milk supply of every city should be
the subject of municipal management and control, and special
arrangements should be made for dealing with the milk intended for
infant consumption. Personally, I should like to see the principles of
the Rochester system extended to cover the entire milk supply of the
city, and, in some one of our great cities, the further experiment of a
municipal farm dairy for the supply of all milk necessary for hospitals
and similar institutions upon the most hygienic principles possible.
This has been done to some extent in Europe with success.


                                   VI

It is a delightful and scientifically correct principle which those
Utopia builders have embodied in their schemes of world-making who have
advocated the restriction of matrimony to those women who have undergone
a thorough course of education and training in eugenics and household
economy. Most persons will agree that such a system of education for
maternal and wifely duties would be a great boon, if practicable. But so
long as hearts are swayed by passion, and the subtle currents of human
love remain uncontrolled by law, such proposals must remain dreams. Even
the modest suggestion of Mrs. Parsons that a “matrimonial white list” be
created by establishing continuation schools for training young women in
the domestic arts and the principles of child-rearing and giving them
certificates or diplomas, as well as certificates of health,[165] is so
far in advance of anything yet attempted that it sounds almost Utopian.
Still, there is nothing fanciful or impossible in the proposal itself.

The preservation of child life must depend largely upon the dissipation
of maternal ignorance. Until mothers are enlightened, the infantile
death-rate must remain needlessly and unnaturally heavy. And so long as
industrial occupations absorb our young girls in the very years which
should be spent at home in practical training for the responsibilities
of wifehood and motherhood, there must continue to be a very large
number of marriages productive of poverty, misery, and disease, because
of the ignorance and inefficiency of the wives. So the fight against
maternal ignorance, the ignorance which breeds disease and poverty,
appears as an almost Sisyphean task. So long as such industrial
conditions prevail, ignorance will continue to sap the foundations of
family life and mock our efforts at reform. In such important matters of
domestic economy as knowledge of food values and how to spend the family
income to the best advantage, what but failure can be expected when a
young woman worker graduates from mill labor to wifehood? Even where
such a young woman, or girl growing into womanhood, feels the need of
training in these important matters of domestic economy, she is
prevented by the fact that the family cooking and buying are necessarily
done during the hours she is at work. By the time she returns home after
her day’s labor, little or nothing remains to be done except washing the
dishes. Even were it otherwise, she would in most cases be too tired to
help. After confinement in a shop or factory for ten or twelve hours, at
monotonous tasks entirely devoid of interest or attractiveness, it is
natural and right that she should seek recreation and pleasure. Further
confinement, either in the home or a school, is extremely liable to
prove injurious.

[Illustration:

  PACKING BOTTLES OF “CLEAN MILK” IN ICE BEFORE SENDING THEM TO THE
    CITY, ROCHESTER, N.Y.
]

For these reasons, and others obvious to the reader, I am not very
sanguine that much can ever be accomplished by evening classes for
working girls. The British Interdepartmental Committee suggests that
“continuation classes for domestic instruction” should be formed, and
attendance at them, twice each week during certain months of the year,
made obligatory, only those employed in domestic service being exempted
from compulsory attendance. Realizing that it would be an injury to the
girls to impose this attendance and study upon them in addition to their
already too long hours of employment, the committee very properly
suggests that some modification of the hours of work would have to be
introduced, so that in fact the hours of instruction would have to be
taken out of their ordinary working time.[166] With such a provision as
this, a system of compulsory instruction in domestic science might very
well be adopted. It is probable, however, that the principal effect
would be a considerable diminishing of the employment of girls and young
women within the ages prescribed for compulsory attendance at the
continuation classes.

The suggested curriculum for such classes is interesting. “The courses
of instruction at such classes should cover every branch of domestic
hygiene, including the preparation of food, the practice of household
cleanliness, the tendance and feeding of young children, the proper
requirements of a family as to clothing—everything, in short, that would
equip a young girl for the duties of a housewife.”[167] The further
suggestion is made that the members of these continuation classes should
visit from time to time the municipal _crèches_—the establishment of
which is strongly recommended—and receive there practical instruction in
the management of infants. This is such a comprehensive and courageous
proposal that one would like to see it given a fair trial.


                                  VII

The efficient work done by the school nurses in New York City, and
elsewhere, though sadly restricted in its scope, suggests far wider
possibilities. If nurses were appointed in far greater numbers, at least
one to each large school, their functions might be enlarged. If, as has
been suggested, they were to receive special social training, possibly
at the expense of part of their present medical training, they might
attend to the needs of those below school age as well as of those
enrolled at school. Above all, they might be made a potent means of
educating the mothers. It has been found that visiting nurses attached
to the schools receive cordial welcome as a rule, are not viewed with
suspicion as other officials or philanthropic visitors are, and have a
correspondingly greater influence. The weak point in such a proposal
lies in the fact that the school nurse would not, if her work was based
upon the school registration, reach those families not represented in
the schools. Thus the most important cases of all, educationally, young
mothers with their first babies, would not be reached.

Elsewhere I have referred to the efforts made in some cities to educate
mothers by the distribution of leaflets and pamphlets upon the subject
of infant feeding and general care. Some of these leaflets and pamphlets
which I have seen are models of concise lucidity, and their wide
distribution among mothers intelligent enough to profit by them would be
of great value. One of the first difficulties presented when this plan
is attempted upon a large scale is the efficient distribution of the
literature. To accomplish anything at all, the literature must be
printed in the various languages represented in the city’s industrial
population, and it is no easy matter to see that each mother gets
literature in her own language. Quite recently, I heard of a tenement in
which there were families representing no less than fourteen
nationalities, and in which lived Mrs. O’Hara, a German, speaking little
English! Added to this difficulty is the expense of distribution. If
sent by mail,—and in large cities no other method seems possible,—the
cost is enormous. To send a single circular to the registered voters of
New York City, for instance, requires an expenditure of upwards of
$60,000 for postage alone.[168] There would seem to be no good reason
why the Federal Government should not authorize the Health Boards to
send all such educational matter through the mails free of cost. Why
should the Health Department of a city not have the privilege of a local
frank? Nothing could well be more foolish than the system under which
the city, while performing a national service, must pay the national
post-office for doing its share of the work.

Many of the mothers, especially of our immigrant population, are quite
unable to read, and literature is wasted upon them. It will be seen,
therefore, that the propaganda of health by literature is subject to
several important restrictions. While admirably adapted to simple,
homogeneous communities in which there is a small percentage of
illiteracy, it fails to meet the needs of our great cosmopolitan cities.
If it were possible to have all births reported at once to the Health
Department by telephone, in order that each case might be visited by
special maternity nurses, it would be comparatively easy to give
special, personal attention to those cases in which literature would be
worthless. This plan has been adopted in Australia with conspicuous
success. The State Children’s Department appoints women inspectors to
visit the children of the poor. These nurse inspectors have to report,
not only upon the condition of the homes, but of the children. The
mothers are furnished with printed instructions as to the kind of food
to be given, the proper quantities, methods of preparation, and times of
feeding. If the child does not thrive satisfactorily, the nurse
inspector calls in one of the physicians of the department. If milk
cannot be properly assimilated, something else is tried. In short, all
that skill and care can do to protect the lives of the infants is done,
with the result that the infantile death-rate has been reduced from 15
per cent to 8 per cent.[169]

[Illustration:

  A MAKESHIFT: HAMMOCKS SWUNG BETWEEN THE COTS IN AN OVERCROWDED DAY
    NURSERY
]


                                  VIII

I would not leave this subject without insisting upon the urgent need of
State or Federal supervision of the manufacture and sale of patent
infant foods. The mortality from this one cause alone is enormous. There
has been no satisfactory or comprehensive inquiry into this important
matter in this country, and it is therefore impossible to get reliable
figures. In Germany, where the law requires that the death certificate
of an infant under one year of age must state what the mode of feeding
has been as well as the cause of death,—a wise provision which might
with advantage be adopted in this country,—it is possible to ascertain
approximately the extent of the evil. The records show that of children
fed on artificial food 51 per cent die during the first year, while only
8 per cent of the children exclusively nursed by their mothers die
during the same period.[170] No one familiar with the work of our
infants’ hospitals can fail to be impressed by the large number of cases
of illness and death in which artificial feeding appears as a primary or
contributing cause. I have gone over the record books of many such
hospitals in different parts of the country, with the almost invariable
result that artificial foods appeared to be the source of trouble in
many cases. Most of the patent foods, one might almost go farther and
say all of them,[171] are unhealthful because of the starch they
contain, which the little infant stomachs cannot digest. Many of the
cheaper kinds of patent infant foods upon the market are, as previously
stated, little better than poisons. The testimony of the greatest
authorities upon the subject of infant feeding, backed by the grim
eloquence of hospital records and the death-rates, points irresistibly
to the need of some strict supervision of the production and sale of
artificial foods for children. Whether this should be done by the
establishment of certain standard formulæ, or by compelling the makers
to submit certified samples for official analysis, is a question which
only a body of experts should decide.

The question of reducing the rate of infant mortality is, it will be
seen from the foregoing, most complicated. It is not without reluctance
and misgiving that I have ventured upon this detailed discussion of
measures to that end, and in doing so I have kept from speculation and
theory, confining myself almost entirely to those measures which have
been tested by experience and found beneficial. If Berlin has been able
to reduce its infantile death-rate from 200 per thousand to 80 per
thousand, Australia to reduce its rate from 15 per cent to 8 per cent;
if Rochester can reduce its summer death-rate of infants by 50 per cent,
it is surely evident that, given the determination to do so, we can at
least hope to save one-half of the babies who, under present conditions,
are perishing each year. In other words, it is possible to save almost
100,000 babies annually from perishing in the first year of life. No
greater, worthier task than this ever challenged the attention of a
great nation.


                                   IX

When all the evidence is piled up, we are irresistibly driven to the
conclusion that no attempt to educate hungry, ill-fed children can be
successful or ought to be attempted. Danton’s fine phrase rings
eternally true, “_After bread_, education is the first need of a
people.” That education is a social necessity is no longer seriously
questioned. But the other idea of Danton’s saying, that education must
come after bread,—that it is alike foolish and cruel to attempt to
educate a hungry child,—is often lost sight of. In the early days of the
public agitation for free and compulsory education, it was not
infrequently urged that before the state should undertake to compel a
child to attend its schools and receive its instruction, it ought to
provide for the adequate feeding of the child. That argument, happily,
did not prevent the establishment and development of public education,
but now that the latter system has been firmly rooted in the soil of our
social system, there is an increasing belief in the inherent wisdom and
justice of the claim that the state has no right to attempt to educate
an unfed or underfed child.[172]

There is something attractive about such elemental simplicity as that of
the Czar who drew a straight line across the map from St. Petersburg to
Moscow, when his counsellors asked him what course he wished a railroad
between the two cities to follow, and said, “Let it be straight, like
that.” I suppose that every worker for social improvement has felt
oppressed at times by the complexity of our social problems, and wished
that they could be solved in some such simple and direct manner. But
social progress is not made along straight lines in general. What seems
to the agitator axiomatic, simple, and easy, appears to the constructive
statesman doubtful, complex, and difficult. There is at least one
European municipality, however, which has solved this problem of the
feeding of school children in a delightfully direct and simple way. The
city of Vercelli, Italy, has made feeding as compulsory as education![I]
Every child, rich or poor, is compelled to attend the school dinners
provided by the municipality, just as it is compelled to attend the
school lessons. Not only food, but medical care and attention, are
provided for every child, as a right, on the principle that it is absurd
and wrong to attempt to develop the mind of a child while neglecting its
body. It is a mocking judgment of our civilization that such a natural,
intelligent solution of a pressing problem should be impossible for our
greatest and richest cities, though attained by a little Italian city
like Vercelli.

I do not suppose that it will be found possible to apply such a
principle generally until many years have passed and our social system
has been modified considerably. In the meantime, some less thorough and
comprehensive system, like that of the French _Cantines Scolaires_, for
instance, will probably be adopted. It is not, however, my intention
here to advocate any particular scheme. I can only reiterate that the
feeding of school children is an imperative, urgent, and vital
necessity, and emphasize certain principles. Elsewhere I have given a
résumé of the methods adopted in several other countries,[J] and I need
not, therefore, go over that ground. Whatever is done should be free
from the taint of charity. There must be no resorting to the pernicious
principle, sometimes advocated by our so-called “practical reformers,”
of subsidizing charitable societies to undertake the work. There must be
no discrimination against the child whose parents have failed to do
their duty. The child of the inebriate, the idler, or the criminal must
not be made to suffer for his parent’s sin. The state has no right to
join with the sins of the fathers in a conspiracy to damn the children’s
lives, and only a perverted sense of the relation of the child to the
state could have made it possible for such a proposal to be made. Upon
the principle that every child born into the world has a right to a full
and free supply of the necessities of life during the whole period of
its helplessness and training for the work of the world, so far as the
resources of the world make that possible, the state should proceed
until in all schools where children attend compulsorily, free,
wholesome, and nutritious meals are provided for all children as a
common right.

Of course, the cry will be raised that such a system would result in
wholesale pauperization. I am not afraid of that cry—it has become too
familiar. When I first went to school in the West of England, I used to
carry my school fees—six cents a week—each Monday morning. Under that
system it was necessary for the school authorities to employ officers to
see that the fees were paid, and frequently defaulting parents were
summoned. The children of poor parents were exempted from paying the
school fees, but they had to present big cards to be marked by the
teacher, and were thus made conspicuous. I remember very well that when
it was proposed to make the schools free to all, the same bogey of
pauperization was raised.[173] The school fees were abolished, however,
and the objection was heard no more. In the early days of the Free
Libraries movement, a similar outcry was heard, but one never hears it
nowadays, nor does anybody consider that he is pauperized when he takes
home a book from the city library to read. And so one might go on,
through a long list of things which were opposed upon the same grounds
by many earnest people, but are now commonly enjoyed. If, moreover, the
alternative to pauperization is slow starvation and suffering, I
unhesitatingly prefer pauperization.


                                   X

Next to the feeding of school children in importance is the need of a
much more efficient and thorough system of medical inspections in all
our schools. In most of our cities something is already done in this
direction, but it is very little. As a rule, the medical inspections now
made are most perfunctory and superficial. With a few honorable
exceptions, the practice is to look only for cases of contagious and
infectious disease or verminous heads. The excessive prevalence of
“granular lids,” or trachoma, which is an acquired disease,[174] has led
to a good deal of attention being given of late to the whole subject of
defective vision. But practically no effort at all has been made to
combine remedial treatment with inspection. Children suffering from
infectious diseases are simply excluded from the schools, and those
found to be suffering from defective vision are given notes asking their
parents to provide them with suitable glasses. In a very large
proportion of cases, probably a majority, the requests are ignored. I
have had children pointed out to me who were suffering from such serious
defects of vision as materially to handicap them in their school work,
whose parents had taken no notice whatever of repeated notices and
warnings from the school doctors. Many parents are too poor to buy
glasses, many more are too ignorant to understand the importance of
complying with the request. I know many parents of this type. On the
other hand, I know many cases in which it would be just as reasonable to
ask the parents to make glasses for their children as to buy them. For
instance, I know of one public school in which the teachers have
repeatedly reported upon the number of children with defective vision,
but without appreciable effect. I spoke to the priest to whose church a
majority of the children’s parents belong about it, and he replied:
“What can they do? They cannot afford to buy glasses. Of the 300
families belonging to my church, I am in a position to say that there
are not more than 10 in which the father earns more than $9 a week. Many
of them earn only six or seven. They have all they can do to get food;
glasses are impossible.” Now, while it is true that in many of these
families there will be supplementary wages from the children or the
mothers, it is perfectly obvious that there must be many unable to
procure glasses for their children.

[Illustration:

  INTERIOR OF THE COMMUNAL SCHOOL KITCHEN, CHRISTIANIA, NORWAY
]

Little or no attention has been given as yet to the ears, teeth, nervous
and respiratory systems, and the general health of our school children.
The inspections conducted by Dr. Cronin and his assistants in New York
City are by far the most important yet made in the United States, and
show the importance of this largely neglected subject. When I have stood
in some of our American public schools and observed the way in which the
medical inspections were made,—as many as 2000 children being
“inspected” in ten or twelve minutes,—I have with shame contrasted the
farcical proceeding with the thorough, systematic work done in several
European countries. In this, as in so many other matters, the United
States and England are far behind countries like Belgium, France,
Germany, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland.[175]

In Brussels every child in the public elementary schools is medically
examined once every ten days. “Its eyes, teeth, ears, and general
physical condition are overhauled. If it looks weak and puny, they give
it cod-liver oil or some suitable tonic. At midday it gets a square meal
... and the greatest care is taken to see that no child goes ill shod,
ill clad, or ill fed.”[176] In Norway there is a very similar system.
Sickly children are put upon a special dietary and given special
individual medical care. There are sanatoria and convalescent homes in
connection with the schools.[177] In Switzerland again poor children are
fed and frequently clothed or shod at the public expense. Day homes are
provided for the very young children. Every child is medically examined
before being admitted to the schools, and periodically thereafter. Sick
children are sent to the school sanatoria and convalescent homes for
treatment. “Holiday Colonies” are provided, to which hundreds of
children are sent each year for a period of twenty-five days each. The
cost of this is partly borne by the city, out of the “Alcoholzehntel”;
partly by private contributions to the “school fund,” and partly by the
payments received from parents. The “Alcoholzehntel” is perhaps worthy
of explanation. It originates in this manner,—the manufacture of spirits
is a federal monopoly, and yields a handsome profit. This is divided
among the various cantons, which are bound to spend one-tenth of the sum
so received to combat the effects of alcohol.[178]

Very similar to the Swiss Holiday Colonies are the _Colonies Scolaires_
of France. These “School Colonies” take two forms. In one case the
arrondissement hires or borrows a boarding-school in the country for the
summer months, to which it sends several hundred children. In the other
case, it acquires a former château in the country, to which it
despatches relays of children during the year. The ordinary stay for
each child is three weeks, and the effect upon the physique of the
children is remarkable.[179] Berlin and, I believe, several other German
cities, not only provide for the regular, thorough medical examination
of every child, but weak, sickly children, especially those who are
predisposed to tuberculosis, are sent to school homes in the country,
not far from the city, where, amid the most healthful surroundings, they
are given special medical and tutorial care until they are entirely well
and strong.[180]

In view of such facts as these, which might be multiplied almost
indefinitely, it will be seen that there is nothing impracticable or
Utopian in the proposal that there should be a regular medical
examination of every child, both before its admission to the school, and
at stated, frequent periods during the whole of its school life. In
fact, there should be two inspections, one medical, the other
dental.[181] Every school should have a well-equipped dispensary
connected with it, and a dental laboratory, so that the children could
get prompt treatment. Provision should also be made to remove physically
weak and sick children from the crowded city schools to more favorable
surroundings with a view to preventing their degeneration, and restoring
them to health and vigor. While the responsibility for these things
should rest upon and be accepted by the municipality, with, possibly,
some subvention from the state, there seems to be no good reason why
some of our puzzled millionaires, who find the wise bestowal of their
wealth an increasingly difficult problem, should not contribute to the
city treasuries for that special purpose.


                                   XI

When we come to deal with the child-labor problem, or, rather, with the
problem of its repression by legislative enactment, we are at once
confronted with a great difficulty that arises out of our political
system rather than out of industrial conditions. The child-labor problem
is a national one, but when we face the question of its solution, we are
handicapped by the division of the country into forty odd states, a
division which makes it almost impossible to deal with any of our great
social and industrial problems nationally upon uniform principles. The
same difficulty exists, of course, in connection with all our social and
industrial problems. We have legislation in the various states of a
conflicting character, adding to the complexity of the problem the
legislators meant to solve. But because this is conspicuously so in the
case of child-labor legislation,—every advance made in the Northern
states serving as a premium upon reaction and delay in the Southern
states,—I have chosen to deal with it in this connection.

[Illustration:

  WEIGHING BABIES AT THE MUNICIPAL INFANTS’ MILK DEPOTS (_GOTA DE
    LECHE_), MADRID
]

Up to the present time, the advocates of child-labor legislation have,
apparently, shrunk from making any definite proposals upon this
important question, while fully recognizing its tremendous importance.
Sooner or later, if ever our greatest social problems are to be
intelligently dealt with, the question of state rights will have to be
fought out and the paramountcy of the nation in all such matters
established, and I can imagine no better issue for raising that question
than the legislative protection of children. Here, again, we must turn
for guidance and suggestion to the Old World. In Germany they have had
to face a similar problem, the difference being one of degree only, and
they have found a solution which might well be adopted in the United
States. Child labor in Germany is regulated partly by the ordinances of
the federal council and partly by the legislation of the different
states of the Empire. The federal enactments establish a minimum
standard for the whole Empire, and it is specifically provided that each
state may enact more stringent measures as it may desire.[182] It is
difficult to see why this principle could not be applied to the problem
here in the United States, giving us a uniform minimum standard of
legislation throughout the whole country. Such a law should prohibit the
employment of any child under fifteen years of age at any employment
whatsoever, and the employment of any child or young person under
eighteen years of age in all “dangerous occupations” specified by a
federal commission. It would be well, also, to insist upon a certain
educational test up to eighteen years, the test to be made in all cases
by the school authorities.[183]

Coming to details for legislation within the states, it is perfectly
obvious that legislation necessary for, and suited to, big cities would
be useless and unsuited to the small towns and rural communities. In the
case of messengers and newsboys, for example, in a town of 10,000
inhabitants, conditions are entirely different from those existing in a
city of 50,000 or 100,000. What would be a perfectly harmless and
unobjectionable occupation in the former city becomes in the latter a
serious menace to health and morals. In the smaller community, the boy
is under the supervision of his parents, his employers, and many of the
citizens who know him personally. His paper business is not of the kind
which takes him out upon the streets as early as four or five o’clock in
the morning and as late as midnight, or after. The New York legislature,
in April, 1903, amended the law relating to children employed in the
streets and public places in cities of the first class, of which there
are two—New York and Buffalo. The amendment provided “that no male child
under ten and no girl under sixteen shall, in any city of the first
class, sell or expose for sale newspapers in any street or public place.
No male child actually or apparently under fourteen years of age shall
sell or expose for sale unless provided with a permit and a badge. No
child to whom such a permit and badge are issued shall sell papers after
ten o’clock at night.” Such a law as that might, I think, be applied to
the smallest town in the country without injustice to any one, but it is
almost ridiculously inadequate to a great city. The city ordinance of
Boston is a good deal better, though it is also inadequate to the needs
of a great city. The ordinance provides that no child shall work as a
bootblack or newsboy unless he is over ten years of age, nor sell any
other article unless he is over twelve years of age. No minor under
fourteen years of age is allowed to sell or expose for sale, in any
street or public place, any books, newspapers, pamphlets, fuel, fruit,
or provisions, unless he has a minor’s license. These minors’ licenses
are only granted upon the recommendation of the principal of the school,
or school district to which the child belongs. Of this law, again, I
should say that it might very well be adopted as applying to all towns
and villages in the United States up to a certain size, but that, in
view of the terrible menace to the health and morals accompanying these
occupations in our great cities, they should be absolutely forbidden for
children or young persons under eighteen years of age. It should be
borne in mind that the usual objection urged against child-labor
legislation—that it would inflict hardship upon the parents—scarcely
applies at all to these boys of the streets in our large cities. Most of
them, it has been shown over and over again, are not at all subject to
parental control, and contribute little or nothing at all to the support
of their families.[184]

It seems to me important also that, in the larger cities at least, and
perhaps generally, the present system of allowing boys and girls to work
during the vacation period should be abolished. The system not only robs
the child of the rest the vacation was intended to give it, but it is a
fruitful source of child labor. Many of those who go to work during the
vacation periods never return to school again. The parents become
dependent upon the extra earnings of the children in a surprisingly
short time, and the children themselves are naturally unwilling to lose
their newly acquired freedom and the extra pocket money which their
labor entitles them to. The ideal system would be to establish summer
school camps, something like the school colonies of Europe, in the
country, where recreation amid healthful surroundings could be combined
with a certain amount of instruction.

[Illustration:

  FIVE O’CLOCK TEA IN THE COUNTRY

  “Fresh Air Fund” children from tenement homes.
]


                                  XII

In this brief sketch of suggested remedial measures, I have confined
myself entirely to those measures which have been successfully tried
elsewhere. I have simply tried to correlate the constructive work in
child saving which has thus far been accomplished into something like a
definite and comprehensive policy. Discussion by earnest men and women
who have given the matters dealt with careful and patient study will,
doubtless, show the need of many changes, both in the direction of
modification and of extension. The important thing at the present time
is to secure an intelligent discussion of the whole problem of the duty
of society to the child, and I venture to hope that the foregoing may
help in that direction. While I have insisted mainly upon the
legislative aspect of the problem, I am not insensible of the importance
of individual responsibility and effort. Much of the child labor of
to-day, for example, is due to the carelessness and indifference of
purchasers’ forever demanding “cheap” goods; and a recognition on their
part of all the monstrous wrong and tragedy hidden in that word “cheap”
would do much to diminish the evil.

We need in our modern life something of that spirit which prompted David
to pour out upon the ground the precious cooling draught his brave
followers, at the risk of their lives, brought him from the well by
Bethlehem’s gate. The water had been obtained at too great a cost, the
risking of human lives, and David could not drink it.[185] We need that
spirit to be applied to our social relations. Those things which are
cheap only by reason of the sacrifice, or risk of sacrifice, of human
life and happiness are too costly for human use. While it is to a large
extent true that there is no problem which depends more completely upon
collective action, through the channels of government, it is also true
that there is abundant room for well-directed private effort. The
coöperation of all the constructive forces in society, private and
public, is necessary if the children are to be saved from the evils by
which they are surrounded, and the future well-being of the race made
possible and certain. Here is the real reconstruction of society—the
building of healthy bodies and brains to insure a citizenship free from
physical and moral decay, worthy of liberty and aspiring to brotherhood.

-----

Footnote H:

  _Charities._

Footnote I:

  See Appendices A and B.

Footnote J:

  Appendix A.



                                   V
                          BLOSSOMS AND BABIES


There is an affinity between children and flowers. To me the sight of a
blossom often suggests a baby, and the sight of a baby often suggests a
favorite flower.

Many a mother singing lullabies to the baby at her breast calls it her
“blossom.”

And children, healthy children, are fond of flowers.

I once saw a boy of ten who didn’t know what a flower was. He knew what
each card in a pack was, and he wasn’t afraid of a policeman. But he was
afraid of a grassy and daisy-spangled field. London had destroyed for
him all sense of kinship with Nature.

But most children, even city children, love flowers. The country child
loves familiarly as it loves its own mother, but the city child loves
and worships. Yesterday I saw a group of little girls with their noses
pressed flat against a florist’s window. “My, ain’t they sweet!” they
cried in chorus.

_If only the flowers could know!_

Some sympathetic and leisured ladies have formed themselves into a guild
to give such children as I saw at the florist’s window growing flowers
to tend and love. I do not know the ladies. We live in the same city,
but in a different world.

And yet we have some things in common, these good ladies and I. Perhaps
many things, but chief of all a love for children and flowers. In our
different worlds, so little alike, this love flourishes with equal
freedom. My wife loves blossoms and babies, too, but she is not a member
of the guild. Its meetings are not held in our world.

The guild got together 10,000 little children from the tenements of this
great city of New York. To each child a potted plant was given, in the
hope that its presence would brighten the home, and its care “refine”
and “spiritualize” the child.

Good, generous ladies of the guild!

And from each child was exacted the promise that upon a given date at
the end of a full year, the plant should be brought back and placed upon
exhibition. Ribbons were promised as prizes to those children whose
plants should be in the most flourishing condition.

The year passed. The day of the exhibition arrived. Richly gowned women,
calling themselves “patronesses,” were there. They went in luxuriously
equipped automobiles to smile and be condescending toward children who
went in rags and were hungry.

But not all the children to whom the year before they had given flowers
were there. Some of them had drooped during the summer and died like
flowers in parched ground.

And many of the plants were withered and dead, too.

What an exhibition, to be sure! Geraniums without fragrance. Geraniums
which a year ago bore deep, rich, green leaves and bright scarlet
blossoms, were now straggling and wretched, with pale-green—almost
white—stems, with poor, sickly-looking little leaves and with no
flowers. And many a pot containing only a withered and rotted stick,
with maybe a little note, “Please, ma’am, it died because our rooms is
dark.”

Some of the richly gowned women wept as they looked at the long rows of
pitiful flowers, and at the long rows of withered and dead flowers.

Wept? I wonder why.

I wonder if they wept because they began to appreciate faintly how
poverty withers and oppresses all life; or only because the sight of so
many dead flowers, and flowers worse than dead, overwhelmed them? Or had
they heard the flowers tell their sad little histories?

For every one of the flowers had a story to tell to understanding
hearts.

Yes, madam, that tall, withered geranium stick, which made you weep as
you remembered how beautiful its scarlet blossoms had looked the year
before, when you gave it to little crippled Polly with the flaxen hair,
could unfold a story, if you could but understand it. But it is a story
of the tenement, not of your world. And you cannot understand.

But little Polly (who doesn’t understand either) can tell you enough to
give you cause for tears. Real tears. Human tears.

I could tell you, for I know the tenement. It is in my world. But let
Polly tell.

                  *       *       *       *       *

“When youse gived us th’ prutty flow’r, leddy, I put ’er in our winder
so’s all th’ kids ’ud see from th’ street. An’ mamma wus so proud! An’
me little baby bruver jes’ went wild, leddy. An’ when mamma wus washin’,
he’d stay so good and call out, so pert-like, ‘Putty! putty!’ An’ mamma
said ‘twus a blessin’, ’cause she wus able to do th’ washin’ when baby
wus playin’.

“But when winter comed, leddy, yer flow’r an’ th’ leaves wus all dead
like, an’ comed off. An’ me mamma said ’twus th’ cold. An’ when I put
’er by th’ airshaft she said ’twus too dark. An’ so yer flow’r jes’ died
like, an’ mamma wus so cut up washin’ days, for me bruver wus teethin’
an’ there warn’t no flow’r.

“But mamma said yer flow’r ’ud come up in th’ summer. So I jes’ kep’
waterin’, an’ when th’ fine days comed I put ’er in our winder again.
An’ it growed a bit, leddy, an’ mamma an’ me wus so glad! But ’twus
allus growin’ a bit an’ then dyin’ like, ’cause, mamma said, we didn’t
git no sun in our rooms. An’ I used to cry in th’ nights ’bout that
flow’r, leddy!

“An’ when summer comed an’ folks wus sleepin’ ’pon their fire-’scapes, I
put yer flow’r outside an’ watered ’er ev’ry day. But when me little
bruver wus sick, an’ th’ doctor said he mus’ go to th’ country
somewheres, yer flow’r jes’ died an’ dried up like a stick, leddy. Me
little bruver died, too, an’ th’ doctor said he’d ’a’ lived if he’d gone
into th’ country.

“I’m sorry, leddy, fur yer flow’r. P’raps ’twus ’cause it never went to
no country place. I tried me best, leddy, but—”

                  *       *       *       *       *

No, don’t reproach yourself, madam. You didn’t know. How could you know,
living in another world? It was really good of you to think of the
tenement children, and to give them your flowers.

Poor little children of the tenements! It was good of you to think of
them. Their homes are squalid, and flowers do make the home brighter.
And their little lives do need the refining and spiritualizing influence
of flowers.

_But neither the babies nor the blossoms can flourish there. They pine
and droop and die together. True, some of them live—babies and
blossoms—but how?_

You are a woman and you love children and flowers. Tell me, did not the
pale, sickly children and the pale, sickly plants impress you as even
more saddening than the dead plants—the constant reminders of dead
children?

Their slow, prolonged dying is more terrible than death to me. And I
love them both, children and flowers.

I honor your tears. They proclaim you to be possessed of a human heart.
But you are a misfit in your sphere. Your place is in our world.

You mean well, but your guild is only a toy. The problem is not to be
solved so easily. If you would help solve it, you must give something
more than plants. You must give yourself.

And this is the work which calls for your service and sacrifice:—

To bring blossoms and babies together where both can thrive. To restore
the child-sense of kinship with Nature, that to every child may come the
joy of understanding Nature’s eternal harmonies. To bring the freedom
and beauty and companionship of beast and bird, flower and tree,
mountain and ocean, stream and star, into the life of every child.

[Illustration:

  A LITTLE FISHERMAN

  “Fresh Air Fund” child from a crowded tenement district.
]

It is a big task, madam; flower shows and ribbons and tears will not
fulfil it. If you are serious, you will find more serviceable things to
do.

_Some there are, the despised builders of Humanity’s temples, who are
laboring to give this vast heritage to the children of all the world.
They build patiently, for they have faith in their work._

_And this is their faith—that the power of the world springs from the
common labor and strife and conquest of the countless ages of human life
and struggle; that not for a few was that labor and that struggle, but
for all. And the common labor of the race for the common good and the
common joy will give blossoms and babies the fulness of life which
sordid greed with its blight makes impossible._

_Are you of the faith of the builders? Are you a builder?_



                               APPENDIX A
         HOW FOREIGN MUNICIPALITIES FEED THEIR SCHOOL CHILDREN


The problem of the underfeeding of children and its relation to the many
and complex problems of health, education, and morality has long been
the subject of careful study and experiment on the part of the most
progressive municipalities of several European countries.

At the present time it is one of the most vital issues in English
politics. When, in the early eighties, Mr. H. M. Hyndman and his few
Social-Democratic colleagues advocated the enactment of legislation
compelling the municipal authorities to undertake the feeding of the
many thousands of children in the public schools, the proposal was
derided as “visionary.” To-day, however, it has the earnest support of
some of the ablest and most influential members of the House of Commons.
Men like Sir John Gorst, ex-cabinet minister, on the Conservative side,
and Mr. Herbert Gladstone, on the Liberal side, are united in the
advocacy of the Socialistic proposal.

Inquiries made by a Royal Commission, a Special Inter-Departmental
Committee, and several local investigating committees in cities like
London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Dundee, and Aberdeen, have revealed a most
alarming state of affairs. In London, it has been estimated by the
leading authority, Dr. Eichholz, there are over 100,000 children of
school age who are chronically underfed. The reports from the other
cities named are equally serious. Public sentiment has been aroused to
such an extent that there seems to be little room for doubting that in
the very near future, Parliament will be compelled to enact some measure
providing for the feeding of children in the public schools. In the
meantime, many thousands of children are being fed by charitable
organizations, working in conjunction with the school authorities. In
most cases the meals are sold to the children at one cent per meal, with
the understanding that if they are too poor to pay, the meals will be
given free of charge. It is astonishing to learn that many thousands of
the children are found, after careful investigation, to be too poor to
raise even one cent.

The experiment which has for some time been tried in Birmingham has
attracted widespread attention in sociological circles, not only in
England, but throughout Europe. This charity makes no effort whatever to
deal with any but the most destitute children, those that, in the words
of the Committee, are “practically starving.” The meals are kept scanty
and unattractive in order that no child will accept them unless
compelled to by sheer hunger. In addition to this safeguard, careful
investigations of the circumstances of the children are from time to
time made. The meals are given free of charge to the children, and the
cost to the committee is less than one cent per meal,—including the
manager’s salary of $500 a year. Yet, despite all the restrictions by
which it is surrounded, his charity is to-day feeding 2½ per cent of the
total child population of the city.

The results of this feeding, poor and insufficient as it is, have been
most beneficial, both from a physical and mental point of view.
Educationally, I am informed by experienced teachers, the results have
been most inspiring. The children both learn and remember better than
before. But it is felt upon all sides, that this charity, admirable as
it is in many ways, only touches the fringe of the problem, and the
demand is made for definite municipal action, upon a much more generous
basis, to take the place of private philanthropy. It is difficult, in
fact, practically impossible, to form any idea of the extent of such
private philanthropy throughout the country. Almost every industrial
centre has its “Free Dinner Association,” and in almost every case the
authorities find that private effort is inadequate, and that there are
many children who cannot afford to pay even one cent for a meal. If the
cent is insisted upon, they must go hungry. This is important to us in
America, because it has been the experience wherever similar experiments
have been tried here. In Chicago, for instance, at the Oliver Goldsmith
School, free dinners have been provided for a large number of children
for some time past. Here, as in England, it was found that a number of
children could no more afford a penny for a meal than they could afford
to dine at the Auditorium Hotel.

In Berlin, and several other German cities, children are fed in the
public schools upon a plan which provides that those must pay who can,
while those who cannot are given their meals free of charge at the
public expense. As a rule, however, these German experiments are
confined to schools situated in the poorest districts. As yet, the
German authorities have not gone so far as to provide meals for all
children, irrespective of their circumstances.

Much the same plan is followed in Reggia Emilia, San Remo, and some
other Italian cities, though the movement is more widespread in Italy
than in Germany. There is one Italian city, however, which has for some
time past gone very much farther than any other city that I know of,
though his Excellency, the Italian Ambassador at Washington, informs me
that there are other Italian cities which have adopted the same plan.
Vercelli is a city of about 25,000 inhabitants in the province of
Novara, Piedmont. Its fame chiefly rests upon its fine library, which
contains a wonderful collection of ancient manuscripts, some of them of
fabulous value. In this little municipality, then, the city fathers have
for a long time provided free meals for every child attending the public
schools, _and made attendance at the meals absolutely compulsory as to
the school itself_! Every child must attend school and partake of the
meals, unless provided with a doctor’s certificate to the effect that to
attend the classes, or to partake of the school meals, would be
injurious to its health. Further, medical inspection is also compulsory,
and is accompanied by free medical attendance. The results appear to
have been most beneficial physically, and the educational gains
resulting from this intelligent, ordered, and regular feeding have been
enormous. It is unlikely, however, that such a system will be adopted in
the United States for many years to come, notwithstanding its many
undoubted advantages.

In Christiania, Trondhjem, and a number of other Norwegian cities, the
municipality provides all children who desire to avail themselves of it
with a nutritious midday meal, irrespective of their ability to pay. The
entire cost of the system is met by taxation. This has been felt by the
Norwegian authorities to be the simplest and best method of dealing with
a grave problem. It avoids the difficulties which inevitably arise when
there is a distinct class of beneficiaries created. “Where all are
equally welcome none are paupers,” they say. With its simple,
homogeneous population, this direct method is admirably adapted to
Norway, however little suited it might be to the needs of a cosmopolitan
nation like ours. The free dinner is a part of Norway’s admirable
educational system, which abounds with features well worthy of being
copied. One of these is an arrangement whereby the school children from
the cities are taken, twice a month in winter, and three or four times a
month in the summer, on excursions into the country. The children from
the country districts are, in the same manner, taken into the cities.
The railroads have to carry the children at a purely nominal cost, which
is also met out of the public funds.

When I applied to one of the members of the Municipal Council of
Trondhjem for information as to the working of the school-meals system,
he replied: “You can best judge that, perhaps, from the fact that
although the scheme was bitterly opposed when first it was proposed by a
small group of radicals and Socialists, it is now unanimously supported
by all sections. There is now no demand whatever for its curtailment or
abandonment. Educationally, we have found that it pays. It is possible
now to educate children who before could not be educated because they
were undernourished. The percentage of ‘backward children’ has been
greatly reduced, notwithstanding that the test is more severe and
searching. Economically, we believe that we can see in the system the
gradual conquest of pauperism made possible.”

In Brussels, and other Belgian cities, good midday meals are provided
for all children who care to partake of them. A small fee, equal to
about two cents, is charged for each meal, but those children who cannot
afford to pay are given their meals just the same. There is also an
excellent system of medical inspection in connection with the schools.
Every child is medically examined at least once every ten days. Its
eyes, ears, and general physical condition are overhauled. If it looks
weak and puny, they give it doses of cod-liver oil, or some suitable
tonic. The greatest care is taken to see that no child goes ill shod,
ill clad, or ill fed. There is also a regular dental examination in
connection with every school at regular periods.

In several Swiss towns the authorities for a long time granted
substantial subsidies to private philanthropic bodies, leaving to them
the organization of systems for providing school meals and the whole
administration of the funds. But this method proved to be very
unsatisfactory. It led to abuses of various kinds, and sectarian
jealousies were aroused. Moreover, it proved to be a most extravagant
method, the cost being disproportionate to the results. Consequently,
the practice has been very generally abandoned, and most of the
municipalities have adopted the direct management of the school meals as
a distinct part of the school system. The plan generally followed is
that of Germany. Those who can must pay, but those who cannot pay must
be fed.

But it is to France that we must turn for the most extensive and
successful system of school meals. Those who, particularly since the
publication of Mr. Robert Hunter’s book, _Poverty_, have advocated the
introduction of some system of school dinners in this country, have with
practical unanimity pointed to the French _Cantines Scolaires_ as the
model to be copied. For that reason, and not less for its own interest,
it may be worth while giving a somewhat fuller account of the French
system and its history.

The school-canteen idea is a development of an old and interesting
custom, borrowed by the French from Switzerland, the little land of so
many valuable experiments and ideals. The custom still obtains in
Switzerland to some extent, though not so extensively as formerly, of
newly married couples giving a small gift of money, immediately after
the wedding ceremony, to the school funds as a sort of thanksgiving for
their education. These funds are used to provide shoes and clothing for
poor scholars who would otherwise be unable to attend school.

In 1849, the time of the Second Republic, the mayor of the second
_Arrondissement_ of Paris conceived the idea of introducing this Swiss
custom into Paris. Accordingly a fund was created, called the Swiss
Benevolent Fund. Before long the name fell into disuse, and we find the
_caisse des écoles_, or school funds, spoken of with no reference to
their Swiss origin or to their benevolent purpose. In the latter days of
the Second Empire, in April, 1867, the Chamber of Deputies passed a
Primary Instruction Law, which was drafted by M. Duruy, the Minister of
Public Instruction, providing that any municipal council might, subject
to the approval of the Prefect, create in the school districts under its
jurisdiction a “school fund.” The object of these school funds was to be
the encouragement of regular attendance at school, either by a system of
rewards to successful students, or material help in the shape of food,
clothing, or shoes to necessitous ones. These funds were to be raised by
(1) voluntary contributions; (2) subventions by the school authorities,
the city, or the state. Where deemed advisable, several school districts
might unite in the creation of a joint fund for their common benefit.

But the law of 1867, so far at least as the school funds were concerned,
was little more than a pious expression of opinion in favor of an idea.
Three years later the Franco-Prussian war broke out with its fury and
devastation, and, as war always does, set back all reforms. Not till
1874, three years after the terrible bloodshed of the Paris Commune, was
anything done. Then the district of Montmartre and one or two others
raised funds. Montmartre is a district of some 200,000 inhabitants,
which has always been characterized by a strong radical or socialistic
sentiment. From a pamphlet issued by the managers of the school fund in
that district, soon after its establishment in 1874, it appears that
they paid little attention to the subject of giving prizes, deeming it
of more importance to provide good strong shoes and warm clothing for
the poorer children. Next, it seems, they undertook to provide outfits
for some girls who had won scholarships at the _École Normale_ (Normal
School), but were too poor to dress themselves well enough to attend
that institution. So, from the very first, the idea of using the school
funds to provide children with the necessities of life prevailed. As a
result there was soon developed a nucleus of bodies dealing with poverty
as it presented itself in the area of educational effort, and, what is
equally important, public opinion was being educated and accustomed to
the idea. It was, therefore, an easy transition to compulsory provision
for the feeding of children. In 1882 a law was passed _compelling_ the
establishment of school funds in all parts of France, but leaving the
application of such funds still at the discretion of the authorities. So
it happens that the _caisse des écoles_ are universal in France, but the
_cantines scolaires_ are by no means so. The latter are, however, quite
common throughout France, and by no means confined to Paris. There is no
official record of the number of districts in which canteens have been
established, because the districts are not obliged to make returns
showing how their school funds are expended.

Since the state now makes education compulsory, and itself provides the
means of enforcing the law, the managers of the school funds do not have
to devise schemes to induce a regular attendance at school. They are
therefore free to use their funds in such manner as seems to them best
calculated to promote the health of the children. This they do mainly by
the following means: (1) Free meals, or meals provided at cost; (2)
provision of shoes and clothing where necessary; (3) free medical
attendance; (4) sending weak, debilitated, and sick children to the
sea-side or the country, homes being maintained, or in some cases
subsidized for the purpose.

This last-mentioned feature of the French plan is most interesting. It
appears to have been adopted as a result of favorable reports upon the
working of a similar plan in Switzerland. The managers of the Montmartre
fund, for instance, purchased a great mansion with a magnificent park,
and to this delightful spot, not many miles from Paris, the children are
sent in batches and kept for two or three weeks at a time, much to their
physical betterment. There are several of these “school colonies”
maintained by the various school funds of Paris, and the City Government
subsidizes them to the extent of about $40,000 a year. The custom of
providing a special grant, or subsidy, in aid of these colonies is quite
common throughout the whole of France. The importance of these
health-building institutions and the provisions made for the medical
care of sick children cannot be overestimated. To give an idea of what
is meant by medical care alone, it is only necessary to refer to a
recent inspection in the New York public schools. Out of 7000 children
examined, fully one-third were found to be suffering from defective
eyesight, while more than 17 per cent suffered from defects so serious
as to interfere with their chances of ever earning a living, as well as
with their general health. A similar investigation in the public schools
of Minnesota recently showed that there were 70,000 children with
defective vision of the most serious nature, less than 10 per cent of
whom were provided with glasses. In a very large number of cases the
parents are simply too poor to buy glasses. Such children would, in
Paris, be provided with the necessary glasses and oculist’s care out of
the school funds. And there would be no suggestion of pauperism about
it, no humiliation; it is the child’s right. Medical inspection is
thorough, and the American witnessing it is very apt to feel ashamed of
the farcical “inspections” so common in his great and wealthy country.

For a long time, whenever food was given the managers of the school
funds simply issued coupons, or orders upon some restaurant, entitling
the holder to so many meals at a given cost. Usually some teacher or
charitable worker was deputed to accompany the child to see that it
actually got what it was intended to get. There was no system. But in
1877 the Prefect of the Seine appointed a commission to study the
question, raised by some Socialists, of how good a warm meal might be
provided in the schools at a low cost. Most of the managers of the
school funds treated the matter in a very lukewarm, indifferent sort of
way, and the commissioners reported that all they had been able to
ascertain was that good meals could be provided at an average cost of
twenty-five centimes (five cents) each. So the matter dropped and was
not again heard of until the trying winter of 1881. Then it was
suggested that, purely as an experiment, the children of school age
whose parents were receiving poor relief should be fed. The managers of
the Montmartre school fund at once volunteered to undertake the
experiment, and their example was soon followed by others. They did not
long confine the meals to the children of pauper parents, but at an
early stage of the experiment extended it so as to include all children.
The example of Montmartre was very soon followed, and within a year
there were fifteen canteens which had served between them 1,110,827
“portions.” One-third of these “portions” were meat, each weighing
twenty grammes, one-third were bowls of soup, and the other third
portions of vegetables, these varying with the season. The number of
portions paid for by the children was 736,526, and the number given to
children too poor to pay, 374,301. It should be said, perhaps, that a
most searching investigation was made to make sure of the inability of
children’s parents to pay. The total cost of the meals was 59,264
francs, of which amount the children paid 36,776 francs. After a while,
when they had gathered experience in the management of the canteens, the
managers found that it was possible to increase the size of the portions
of meat and, at the same time, to cut down expenses by nearly 50 per
cent.

Nowadays the cost of a meal, consisting of a bowl of good soup, a plate
of meat, two kinds of vegetables, and bread _ad libitum_, is fifteen
centimes (three cents). That is the sum paid by the children, and I have
been assured over and over again by those in charge of various canteens
that it is more than sufficient to pay the cost. There would be a not
inconsiderable profit if all children paid for their meals, but that is
not by any means the case. When a child’s parents are too poor to pay
the full price, and that fact has been ascertained by the investigators,
they are permitted to pay less, even as little as two and a half
centimes, or half a cent. The policy is to encourage as many as possible
to pay the full price, or such sums as they can muster. But the very
poor are never turned away, and in the poorer quarters thousands of
children are fed gratuitously, especially in winter, when in Paris, as
elsewhere, there is more distress due to sickness and interrupted
employment. In the poor quarter of Eppinette the children’s fees amount
to only about 20 per cent of the cost, while in the wealthier quarters
they amount to 75 or even 85 per cent. In an ordinary industrial
district, like Batignolles, the children pay about 45 per cent on a
yearly average.

The Municipal Council of Paris makes an annual subsidy to cover the
natural deficit of the canteens. These deficits vary from year to year,
but the total subsidies required for the three years, 1901–1903,
amounted to $200,000. In connection with this question of financial
management there are two items worth noticing. One is the fact that
private subscriptions to the school funds show a great falling off now
that in practice they have become incorporated in the municipal
government. It has not been found that citizens are willing to
contribute to the funds now that the city has assumed responsibility for
them. The other fact is that the expenditure in poor relief on account
of children is very much less. Children have always served as the best
of all reasons why poor relief should be given. Now, when that plea is
made by an applicant for relief, he or she is referred to the school
canteens, where the children are sure of being fed.

I fancy that I can hear some good reader’s mocking sneer at the idea of
being fed at a “common, socialistic trough.” Well, I can only say that,
having eaten meals in two or three of the schools, I much preferred them
to an average American restaurant “Regular Dinner” at twenty-five cents.
Everything is as neat and clean as it could possibly be, and the
cooking—well, it bears out the reputation of the French as the
master-cooks of the world. There is, apparently, no “graft,” and that is
probably due in large part to the fact that the meals are not confined
to pauper children, who might, alas! be badly served with impunity. From
the first it has been one of the chief aims of the authorities to keep
the canteens free from the taint of pauperism. The children of the
well-to-do are encouraged to attend—not, indeed, by direct solicitation,
but by making the meals and the surroundings as attractive as possible.
And the plan succeeds very well. No child knows whether the child next
it has paid for its dinner or not. Small tickets are issued, each child
going through a little box-office, which only permits of one being in at
a time. If a little boy or girl claims to be too poor to pay for a meal
ticket, no questions are asked, the ticket is issued, and the child’s
name and address noted. By next day, or at most in two days, inquiries
have been made. If it is found that the parents can afford it, they are
compelled to pay the full price and to refund whatever sum may be due to
the canteen for the meals their child has had. If they are found to be
really too poor to pay, tickets are issued to the child for as long as
it may be necessary. In such cases the account is not charged against
the parents. No distinction is made between the tickets of those who pay
and those who do not, and it is thus practically impossible for the
child who has paid for its meal to jeer at its less fortunate, dependent
comrade. Thus the self-respect of the poorest children is preserved,—a
most important fact, as every one who has studied the problems of
charitable relief knows.

Another highly important factor is the presence of the teachers at the
meals. Fully 90 per cent of the teachers use the canteens more or less
regularly, though there is absolutely no compulsion in the matter. They
prefer to do so on account of the cheapness and wholesome character of
the meals. I have myself sat down to a three-cent dinner in the company
of a well-known member of the Chamber of Deputies, a Professor of
Languages, and several teachers, each one of us having gone through the
little box-office and bought his ticket in exactly the same manner as
the most ragged urchin. All the children are provided with cheap paper
napkins, and the presence of the teachers is a sort of practical
education in table manners. The canteen serves, therefore, as a great
educational and ethical force as well as a remedy for one of the worst
evils arising out of the national poverty problem. The _cantine
scolaire_ is a great institution, well worthy of careful study.

If, as the evidence gathered by Mr. Hunter seems to show, we have at
least two million underfed children in the public schools of the United
States, victims of physical and mental deterioration, the time must
come, and the sooner the better, when we must deal with the problem.
Some of the Utopians among us would doubtless like to see the
all-embracing compulsory system of Vercelli adopted, but it is most
likely that we shall find the French methods better suited to our needs.

  NOTE.—I am indebted to the publishers of my _Underfed School
  Children—The Problem and the Remedy_, Charles H. Kerr and Company,
  of Chicago, for permission to reproduce the foregoing paper in this
  volume.



                               APPENDIX B
 LETTER TO THE ROYAL ITALIAN AMBASSADOR AT WASHINGTON FROM THE CHIEF OF
     THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF VERCELLI, ITALY,
                   DESCRIBING THE SCHOOL-MEALS SYSTEM

  NOTE.—I am indebted to the Italian Ambassador at Washington, his
  Excellency Mayor des Planches, for permission to use the following
  letter. The translation was made for me by Mr. Teofilo Petriella, of
  Cleveland, Ohio, an Italian journalist.—J. S.


                                           VERCELLI, September 13, 1905.

The school year, 1904–1905, just over, was the _fifth_ since the school
lunch (_refezione scolastica_) was introduced in our City Elementary
Schools, _at the complete expense of the Municipality_.

The school lunch is distributed every day during the whole school year.
Limited, at the beginning, only to the city schools, it has been
extended, since the school year 1901–1902, to the suburban and rural
schools.

To-day, therefore, all the male and female pupils of all the classes of
all the elementary schools, in both city and suburbs, take part in the
lunch. There are 65 schools with 91 classes, attended by an average of
2500 boys and girls.

The lunch consists of bread with another victual (_pane e companatico_).
Each pupil gets a very good loaf of first quality wheat bread, weighing
140 grammes for the IV and V classes;[K] 120 grammes for the III class;
and 100 grammes for the first two classes.

The victuals served with the bread are: On meat days, raw salt meat
(_salame crudo_) in rations of 14 grammes, alternated with cooked salt
meat (_salame cotto_) in rations of 20 grammes.[L] On fish days, cheese
(either Bernesa or Fontina alternated) in rations of 20 grammes. All is
of first quality, and this is daily ascertained by an inspection on the
part of the Steward and the Officer of the Board of Health.

Each ration costs from seven to eight cents of a franc.[M]

Every school morning each teacher, within 15 minutes of the commencement
of school (from 9 to 9.15), ascertains the number present by roll-call,
fills out an order in three copies, keeping for himself the one attached
to the stub and sending, by the ushers, the other two to the City
Steward.

The Steward keeps one of these duplicate copies for the office accounts
and registrations, while sending the other back to the teacher, along
with the requested rations in a closed basket.

The office of the Steward, after having received all the requests from
all the teachers, as above said, and after having classified same by
degree, locality, and number, sends the orders of purchase to the
different supply-contractors.

At 10 o’clock, in a suitable place, under the direction and supervision
of the City Steward, the baskets are made up, one for each class. The
baskets, once ready, are automatically padlocked—the teacher having the
necessary key—and forwarded by proper servants to the several suburbs,
while others take the rest, on pushcarts, to the city school buildings.

The School Trustees of the respective boroughs, the Principal and the
Steward in the City School, visit the different classes to make sure of
the regular and exact proceeding of the beneficent institutions.

So much, answering your favor of August 15th.

                   Truly yours,

         The Mayor, per the Chief of the Board of Education, Cero Lucca.

-----

Footnote K:

  Twenty-eight grammes equal one ounce avoirdupois. The children in
  classes IV and V get loaves, therefore, weighing five ounces each.

Footnote L:

  _Salame_, here translated “salt meat,” is really the best kind of
  salted dry sausage made of pork sirloin.

Footnote M:

  One U. S. dollar equals about 492 francs; 100 Italian cents equal one
  franc, so that one cent of a franc equals about one-fifth of an
  American cent.



                               APPENDIX C


                                   I
                        THE QUESTION OF HEREDITY

In his testimony before the British Interdepartmental Committee on
Physical Deterioration, Dr. Alfred Eichholz, one of H. M. Inspectors of
Schools, a Doctor of Medicine, and formerly Fellow and Lecturer of
Emmanuel College, Cambridge, said:—

“I have drawn a broad distinction between physical degeneracy and
hereditary deterioration. The object of my evidence is to demonstrate
the range and the depth of degeneracy among the poorer population, and
to show that it is capable of great improvement—I say improvement
purposely even within the areas of the towns—and to show that there is
_a lack of any real evidence of any hereditary taint or strain of
deterioration even among the poor populations of our cities_. The point
which I desire to emphasize is that our physical degeneracy is produced
afresh by each generation, and that there is every chance under
reasonable measures of amelioration of restoring our poorest population
to a condition of normal physique.

“I draw a clear distinction between physical degeneracy on the one hand
and inherited retrogressive deterioration on the other. With regard to
physical degeneracy, the children frequenting the poorer schools of
London and the large towns betray a most serious condition of affairs,
calling for ameliorative and arrestive measures, the most impressive
features being the apathy of parents as regards the school, the lack of
parental care of children, the poor physique, powers of endurance, and
educational attainments of the children.... _While there are,
unfortunately, very abundant signs of physical defect traceable to
neglect, poverty, and ignorance, it is not possible to obtain any
satisfactory or conclusive evidence of hereditary physical
deterioration_—that is to say, deterioration of a gradual retrogressive
permanent nature, affecting one generation more acutely than the
previous. There is little, if anything, in fact, to justify the
conclusion that neglect, poverty, and parental ignorance, serious as
their results are, possess any marked hereditary effect, or that
heredity plays any significant part in establishing the physical
degeneracy of the poorer population. In every case of alleged
progressive hereditary deterioration among the children frequenting an
elementary school, it is found that the neighborhood has suffered by the
migration of the better artisan class, or by the influx of worse
population from elsewhere. _Other than the well-known specifically
hereditary diseases which affect poor and well-to-do alike_, there
appears to be very little real evidence on the prenatal side to account
for the widespread physical degeneracy among the poorer population.
There is, accordingly, every reason to anticipate RAPID amelioration of
physique so soon as improvement occurs in external conditions,
particularly as regards food, clothing, overcrowding, cleanliness,
drunkenness, and the spread of common practical knowledge of home
management. In fact, all evidence points to _active, rapid improvement,
bodily and mental, in the worst districts_, so soon as they are exposed
to better circumstances, even the weaker children recovering at a later
age from the evil effects of infant life. (P. 20.)

“To discuss more closely the question of heredity may I in the first
instance recall a medical factor of the greatest importance: the small
percentage of unhealthy births among the poor—even down to the very
poorest. The number of children born healthy is even in the worst
districts very great. The exact number has never been the subject of
investigation, owing largely to the certainty which exists on the point
in the minds of medical men—but it would seem to be not less than 90 per
cent.

“I have sought confirmation of my view with medical colleagues in public
work, _e.g._ public health, poor law, factory acts, education, and in
private practice in poor areas, and I have also consulted large
maternity charities and have always been strengthened in this view. _In
no single case has it ever been asserted that ill-nourished or unhealthy
babies are more frequent at the time of birth among the poor than among
the rich, or that hereditary diseases affect the new-born of the rich
and the poor unequally._ The poorest and most ill-nurtured women bring
forth as hale and strong-looking babies as those in the very best
conditions. In fact, it almost appears as though the unborn child fights
strenuously for its own health at the expense of the mother, and arrives
in the world with a full chance of living a normal physical
existence.... The interpretation would seem to be that Nature gives
every generation a fresh start.”

[Q. 558. There is a fresh chance of getting rid of rickets with every
generation?]

“Yes; rickets, malnutrition, low height, poor weight, anæmia, and all
the other circumstances of neglected existence. It is from the moment of
birth that the sad history begins,—the large infant mortality, the
systematic neglect, the impoverishment of the constitution,—the
resulting puny material which is handed over to the school to be
educated.

“... It seems clear that every generation receives its chance of living
a good physical life, and when to the fact of the large proportion of
healthy new births we couple the evidence of improving health and
physique in children who pass up the poorer elementary schools, _it
seems clear that we are not dealing with a hereditary condition at all,
but with a systematic postnatal neglect by ignorant parents, and that
heredity, if it makes for anything, makes for recuperation, and so do
the other social forces which are brought into play in dealing with the
poorer population_.” (P. 31.)—Report of the Committee, Vol. II.

Dr. Edward Malins, M.D., President of the Obstetrical Society of London
and Professor of Midwifery in the University of Birmingham, was examined
upon the same subject. From the Report of the Committee (Vol. II, p.
136), the following extracts are taken:—

“3124. You have been good enough to attend here in consequence of
certain evidence that we received the other day in which it was stated
by Dr. Eichholz, on the authority of other medical men, that if people
are going to have children, they will have healthy children as though
Nature were giving every generation a fresh start, and he went on to say
that healthy births were about 90 per cent in the poor neighborhoods,
and he suggested that we should go to the London Obstetrical Societies
to ascertain how far their experience bore out this statement. What are
you able to say on this point?—What I have to say at the present time is
more a matter of observation and of opinion. _We have not the figures at
present to prove the accuracy of it, but I think the testimony of
experienced observers would be in accordance with the views expressed by
Dr. Eichholz_, though perhaps not to such a large extent. I should say
that from 80 to 85 per cent of children are born physically healthy.

“3125. Whatever the condition of the parents may be? Whatever the
condition of the mother may be antecedently.

“3126. And you think the deterioration sets in later?—I do, materially
so. _The weight of children at birth as far as I know—and I have weighed
a great many—is generally not below the average; the average keeps up
very much no matter what the physical condition of the mother may be for
the time._ Since receiving this information we have instituted at the
Obstetrical Society of London, in connection with Lying-in Charities and
Hospitals in London, a tabulated form for ascertaining these facts—what
the weight of children is at birth; their physical condition, and
whether there is an increase or otherwise during the time a woman is
under observation. That time is not very long, not more than 10 days or
a fortnight generally.

“3127. Will you be able to furnish us with these facts when
collected?—Certainly. I will give the information later on, but I think
there is a general consensus of opinion, at all events irrespective of
figures, which I am not able to give, that the average is kept up no
matter what the condition of the mother may be.

“3128. That proves what you say in your _précis_,—that Nature intends
all to have a fair start?—Yes.”


                                   II
                              MALNUTRITION

“One of the most striking things about children suffering from
malnutrition is their vulnerability. They ‘take’ everything. Catarrhal
processes in the nose (adenoids), pharynx, and bronchi are readily
excited, and, once begun, tend to run a protracted course. There is but
little resistance to any acute infectious disease which the child may
contract. One illness often follows another, so that these children are
frequently sick for almost an entire season. Their muscular development
is poor, they tire readily, are able to take but little exercise, and
their circulation is sluggish. Mentally, they are usually bright, often
precocious. Many would be called nervous children.”—_The Diseases of
Infancy and Childhood_, by L. Emmet Holt, M.D., LL.D., p. 231.

“General malnutrition is the commonest pathological feature of infant
life. Probably 50 per cent of all infants in this country (England)
suffer from a greater or less degree, and this large proportion is
caused undoubtedly by the extremely unsatisfactory methods of substitute
feeding at present in vogue. Illness, in the usually accepted sense of
the word, is not present. No specific disease can be diagnosed, and
unless the indications are realized, the degeneration is allowed to
proceed until marasmus or some acute disorder supervenes....

“Marasmus represents the extreme result of gradual and long-continued
malnutrition. Extreme wasting is the cardinal, and indeed only, specific
symptom. The term is not applicable to those cases where the wasting is
the result of exhaustion due to the incidence of specific disease, such,
for instance, as tuberculosis....

“The most striking and perhaps the commonest result of impaired
nutrition is the disease generally known by the name of rickets. Though
some of its most obvious features are those associated with changes in
the osseous system, those are by no means the only effects of the
disease. Rachitis is the expression of profound pathological changes
occurring in practically all the tissues of the body.

“No other disease illustrates so completely the effects of inadequate
nutrition. An infant nursed by its mother and receiving from her a
sufficient supply of adequate food, never contracts the disease, however
disadvantageous its environment may be in other respects.

“Defect in the diet is the prime and essential cause of rachitis; while,
as might be expected, the most advanced forms of the disease are to be
seen when the effects of inadequate food are intensified by unhygienic
environment....

“The effects of rachitis on the general constitution are extremely
severe. The relationship between the nutrition of the infant and the
condition of the child and adult has received but little attention. But
there can be no doubt that the defects of nutrition occurring in infancy
are of paramount importance in regard to the development of the adult.
The cases of retarded physical and mental development in the child and
the adult are numerous at the present time, and it is probable that
their chief cause lies in defective nutrition during the period of
infancy.

“Rachitis is a disease attended with a high mortality with which it is
never credited, for the disease itself is seldom, if ever, fatal. In
consequence of the cachectic condition and the extreme debility
associated with advanced rachitis, the specific infectious diseases,
such as measles, pertussis, and others, are associated with a much
higher mortality in these cases than in others. Associated more or less
closely with rachitis is a large class of disorders, such as bronchitis,
diarrhœa, laryngismus stridulous, convulsions; these are attended with
many fatal issues.”—_The Nutrition of the Infant_, by Ralph M. Vincent,
M.D., pp. 226 _et seq._


                                  III
                          MIDWIFERY AND DEATH

Dr. Thomas Darlington, President of the New York Board of Health, says:
Any movement for a proper regulation of midwives has my earnest support.
Under the laws of New York as they now exist there is no adequate
regulation. It is very easy for a woman to become a midwife in this
city. She is required, it is true, to come to the department of health
with a certificate from some school of midwifery, here or abroad, or to
present statements from two physicians as to her fitness and character,
but the _status_ of the school does not enter into the consideration,
and that it is not difficult to obtain the indorsement from the two
doctors is indicated by the great degree of incompetency and
carelessness to be found in the ranks of the 800 midwives of New York
City. Under the laws now existing we have no right to demand further
proof of qualification. If the applicant meets the slight requirements,
we must put her down as a “registered midwife.” She brings this phrase
prominently into use in her solicitations for business in her
neighborhood, and it inspires confidence—a good deal more confidence
than it should. Thus are the people deceived by the laxity of the law. A
measure was introduced in the legislature, providing for a much stricter
supervision of midwives than is now the case. The bill had the support
of this department and of the medical societies of standing, and yet,
because of ignorance and indifference concerning the evils of the
practice, it failed to reach a place on the statute books. My own
opinion is that the midwife should, before being allowed to practise,
undergo a schooling at least as long and as careful as that of the
trained nurse.

Dr. Henry C. Coe, Professor of Gynecology at Bellevue Hospital, New
York, and Chief Surgeon of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the General
Memorial Hospital, New York, says: Midwives are responsible for the
majority of cases sent to public hospitals. It is a sad commentary on
the mediæval customs of obstetrics that such facts, known to all
doctors, should be ignored by coroners. The remedy is plain,—to have
educated midwives, as in Germany.

Dr. J. Clarence Webster, of the Rush Medical College, Chicago, says: The
midwives are, as a class, uneducated and untrained. They are responsible
for the great majority of maternal deaths. Every gynecologist who works
in a large charity hospital can give evidence of the morbidity among
poor women resulting from infection where the attendant was a midwife.
The splendid results obtained by the lying-in hospitals and
dispensaries, where women are attended by skilled physicians and trained
nurses, are chiefly due to a rigid technique, the essential feature of
which is cleanliness. It is a disgrace to every city that the benefits
of such institutions cannot be extended to all poor women. Any surgeon
who would dare to operate under the conditions observed by midwives
would be denounced not only by the medical profession, but also by the
enlightened laity. Yet the latter are apparently indifferent to the work
of the midwife, and allow her to carry on her dangerous career
uncensured. The extension of the benefits of scientific obstetrics is
chiefly due to the persistence and self-sacrifice of the medical
profession, but the doctors are unable, unaided, to do what remains to
be done.

Dr. Francis Quinlin, President of the New York County Medical
Association, says: All reputable physicians who have given the matter
the slightest consideration are of one mind in regard to the menace to
life in the ignorant work of the great majority of midwives. The New
York County Medical Association has let slip no opportunity to throw the
weight of its influence on the side of remedial measures. That little
has been accomplished so far is due to the fact that the midwife, as she
exists to-day, is a time-honored institution, difficult to uproot. Most
midwives have apparently no conception of the scientific cleanliness
which is rightly regarded by physicians as being of prime importance.
The most ordinary antiseptic precautions are ignored, with the result
that, every day, women who have been attended by midwives are brought to
hospitals suffering from blood-poisoning. In their habits of
carelessness the midwives also carry from one house to another the germs
of infectious diseases. In the interest of a host of poor mothers and of
children whose lives are valuable to the nation, I say that the practice
of midwifery should come under a much closer scrutiny of the law than is
now the case.

Dr. Eleanor B. Kilham, Head of the Maternity Department of the Women’s
Infirmary, New York City, says: That much injury results to mothers and
children from the unrestrained practice of midwives there can be no
doubt in the mind of any physician who has been brought in contact with
the conditions. There is an opportunity here for an important reform,
and I am very glad to know that something is being done in this
direction.

(These letters are quoted from _Success_, April, 1905.)


                                   IV
  MUNICIPALIZATION OF THE MILK SUPPLY AND THE DANGERS OF STERILIZATION

“The real solution of the milk problem is not the supply of sterilized
milk of doubtful purity, but rather the supply of clean milk from
sources above all suspicion. The transport of milk from long distances
under present conditions, as to cooling, transit, etc., may render
sterilization all important, but the necessity for sterilization
indicates the presence of avoidable organic impurity, and to obtain a
naturally pure milk supply is the really important thing....

“If we municipalize water because the public health aspect is of such
vital importance, then from the same standpoint we should municipalize
the milk supply. We nearly all need milk—many live on it exclusively;
its supply is as regular as the water supply, and its distribution
demands even greater care for a longer time. The milkman calls more
regularly than the postman and the milk bill comes in as regularly as
the rate card. Like the liquor trade, the milk trade is a simple one,
and the dividends of modern dairy companies show that it is
profitable....

“We should bear in mind that, although under present conditions of
supply any stringent enforcement of the most thorough sanitary
regulations on farmers, or any distinct raising of the legal minimum of
fat in milk, would certainly tend to raise the price of milk to the
consumer, and any rise in price would be most unfortunate, yet a high
standard of production and distribution is essential. The only way to
get both low price and a better article is by means of the enormous
economies in distribution, cartage, etc., which would at once result
from municipal ownership....

“Finally, it has been shown that all successful attempts to solve the
question have been those in which the aim has been other than the
ordinary commercial one, and those organizing the supply have been
interested in the public health, and in which there has been thorough
organization on a large scale both in supply and distribution. These
facts alone show that the only solution possible under modern conditions
is that suggested by the municipal ownership and control of the milk
supply.”—F. Lawson Dodd, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., L.D.S., Eng., D.P.H.,
London, in _The Problem of the Milk Supply_.

Sir Richard Douglas Powell, in his lecture to the Congress of the
Sanitary Institute at Glasgow, in July, 1904, said: “There can be no
doubt that scientifically conducted dairy farms on a large scale, with
urban depots for the reception and dispensing of pure milk in clean
bottles at a fair price to the poor, would pay, and would be a most
laudable employment of the municipal enterprise that is often devoted to
matters of much less urgent public interest and importance. Apart from
the primary benefit of affording a pure milk supply at a fair price, the
object lesson to mothers and families in food cleanliness would be
beyond price.”

Mrs. Watt Smith, an expert employed by the _British Medical Journal_,
author of _The Milk Supply in Large Towns_, in her evidence before the
Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration, condemned the
policy of the English Infants’ Milk Depots, saying: “The milk comes from
an uninspected source; they get it from a local dealer.... _Then they
sterilize that milk to make it safe. It is like purifying sewage to make
it into clean water._ It is not right.” Dr. Ralph M. Vincent also
condemned the sterilization process for the same reason, and, in
addition, insisted that sterilization impaired the nutritive value of
the milk, causing at least one specific disease, scorbutus.—Report of
the Committee, Vol. II, Minutes of Evidence.

Dr. George W. Goler, whose work in Rochester has been so much referred
to, says: “For two more years the milk was Pasteurized, though
considerable trouble was had with sour milk and in finding a man to
furnish reasonably clean milk. After the first year four stations in all
were required for the needs of four quarters of the city. Then, in 1899,
we established our central station on a farm, and _instead of
Pasteurizing milk, with all its contained filth and bacteria, we strove
to keep dirt and germs out of the milk_, and began to sterilize all of
the utensils, bottles, etc., and to put out milk that was clean. Clean
milk, or milk approximately clean, having no more than 20,000 bacteria
per cubic centimeter needs no application of heat to render it fit food
for babies. _Heat applied to milk alters it, makes its curd tougher and
more difficult to digest, often gives rise to indigestion, diarrhœa, or
constipation in the infant_, and, further, the application of heat to
milk in the operation of Pasteurizing or sterilizing leads people to
think they may cure a condition that is more easily prevented by care in
the handling of milk used for food.”—“But a Thousand a Year,” reprinted
from _Charities_, August 5, 1905.


                                   V
               A COMMISSIONER OF CHARITIES ON CHILD LABOR

“The objection that is offered most frequently, and perhaps with most
effect, to further restriction of child labor, is the _alleged fact_
that in a great many instances the _earnings of these little children
are needed to supplement the incomes of widows_, of families in which
the husband and wage-earner may be either temporarily or permanently or
partially disabled, and that without the small addition which the
earnings of these little boys and girls can bring in, there would be
suffering and distress. It would be easy, I think, to overestimate the
extent to which that is true.... So we should not admit that that side
is more serious than it is, but do let us cheerfully, frankly, gladly
add that there would be many cases in which the proposed legislation
(for the restriction of child labor) would deprive many families of
earnings from their children, and that _we propose ourselves to step
into the breach and provide that relief in good hard cash that passes in
the market_.... If larger means are necessary to support these children
so that they need not depend on their own labor, by all means let us put
up the money and not push the children for a part of their support
before the time when they should naturally furnish a part of their
support.... In the long run it is never cheap to be cruel or hard. _It
is never wise to drive a hard bargain with childhood._”—Extract from an
address by Homer Folks, Commissioner of Charities, New York.



                         NOTES AND AUTHORITIES


                     I. THE BLIGHTING OF THE BABIES

Footnote 1:

  The Theory and Practice of Infant Feeding, by Henry Dwight Chapin,
  A.M., M.D.

Footnote 2:

  Registrar General’s Report, 1886, pp. 32–126.

Footnote 3:

  Population Française, Levasseur, vol. ii, p. 403.

Footnote 4:

  Tenement Conditions in Chicago, by Robert Hunter, pp. 154–157.

Footnote 5:

  Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 144.

Footnote 6:

  The Diseases of Children, by Henry Ashby, M.D., Lond., and G. A.
  Wright, B.A., M.B., Oxon., p. 12.

Footnote 7:

  Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social
  Science, 1882, p. 388.

Footnote 8:

  Mulhall’s Dictionary of Statistics, p. 133.

Footnote 9:

  Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration.
  Evidence.

Footnote 10:

  _Idem._ Evidence of Dr. Eichholz and Others.

Footnote 11:

  Parliamentary Paper [Cd. 1501] containing a Memorandum by Sir William
  Taylor, the Director-General, Army Medical Service.

  See also a letter to the _London Times_, February 2, 1903, by General
  F. Maurice.

Footnote 12:

  Tenement Conditions in Chicago, p. 157.

Footnote 13:

  Information received from the Commissioner of Health.

Footnote 14:

  Trans. Nat. Ass’n for the Promotion of Social Science, 1882, p. 387.

Footnote 15:

  The Nutrition of the Infant, by Ralph M. Vincent, M.D., p. 246.

Footnote 16:

  Diseases of Children, Ashby and Wright, p. 228.

Footnote 17:

  _Idem._, pp. 44–45.

Footnote 18:

  Figures quoted from a newspaper report of an interview with Mr.
  Straus.

Footnote 19:

  See the Article, But a Thousand a Year, in _Charities_, August 5,
  1905; Infants’ Milk Depots and Infant Mortality, by Dr. G. F.
  McCleary; The Problem of the Milk Supply, by Dr. Lawson Dodd, etc.

Footnote 20:

  Report Interdepartmental Committee, vol. ii, p. 442; Vincent, _op.
  cit._, pp. 268 _et seq._

Footnote 21:

  Report of the Health of the City of Birmingham, 1902, by Dr. Alfred
  Hill. Quoted by Vincent, _op. cit._, p. 272.

Footnote 22:

  Vincent, _op. cit._ Also Testimony before the Interdepartmental
  Committee contained in the Report Evidence.

Footnote 23:

  Mass and Class, by W. J. Ghent, p. 182.

Footnote 24:

  From the newspaper report of an interview referred to above.

Footnote 25:

  A Noviciate for Marriage, by Mrs. H. Ellis.

Footnote 26:

  Twentieth Annual Report of the N. Y. Bureau of Labor Statistics, p.
  61.

Footnote 27:

  _Charities_, April 1, 1905.

Footnote 28:

  See, _e.g._, the _Fortnightly Review_ for 1876, the _Contemporary
  Review_ for 1882, and the various Transactions of the National Society
  for the Promotion of Social Science.

Footnote 29:

  Methods of Social Reform, by W. S. Jevons.

Footnote 30:

  Report of the Proceedings of the Third International Congress for the
  Welfare and Protection of Children,—Speech of Mr. Hartley, B. N.
  Mothersole, M.A., LL.D., p. 166.

Footnote 31:

  _Idem._

  Also the Transactions of the Nat. Soc. for the Promotion of Social
  Science, p. 384.

Footnote 32:

  Primitive Folk, by Élie Reclus, p. 35.

Footnote 33:

  See the Comparative Summary of Legislation upon this Subject in
  Dangerous Trades, edited by Prof. T. Oliver, pp. 53, 54.

Footnote 34:

  _Vide_ Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Physical
  Deterioration and the frequent discussions in the British Press.

Footnote 35:

  Transactions of the National Society for the Promotion of Social
  Science, 1882, p. 363.

Footnote 36:

  _Idem._, p. 382.

Footnote 37:

  Statistisches Jahrbuch für das Deutsche Reich, 1904.

Footnote 38:

  Diseases of Children, by Ashby and Wright, pp. 14 _et seq._

Footnote 39:

  See, _e.g._, Infants’ Milk Depots and Infant Mortality, by G. F.
  McCleary.

Footnote 40:

  Report on Les Crèches, by Dr. Eugène Deschamps, Congrès International
  d’Hygiene et de Démographie à Paris, 1900.

  Other works consulted include: How the Other Half Lives, by Jacob A.
    Riis; The Battle with the Slum, by the same author; The Diseases
    of Infancy and Childhood, by L. Emmet Holt, M.D., LL.D.

  System of Medicine, edited by Clifford Allbutt.

  Antenatal Pathology, by J. W. Ballantyne, M.D.

  The Study of Children, by Francis Warner, M.D., London, F.R.C.S.,
    F.R.C.P.

  The Nervous System of the Child, by the same author.

  In the preparation of the text free use has also been made of the
    files of the following journals: _British Journal of Children’s
    Diseases_; _British Medical Journal_; _New York Medical Journal_,
    _Archives of Pediatrics_; _Lancet_, _Journal of the American
    Medical Association_, etc.


                          II. THE SCHOOL CHILD

Footnote 41:

  The Handwriting on the Wall, by J. C. Cooper, p. 222.

Footnote 42:

  Education and the Larger Life, by C. Hanford Henderson, p. 85.

Footnote 43:

  Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 11.

Footnote 44:

  Hunter, _op. cit._, p. 216.

  See also Mr. Hunter’s article, The Heritage of the Hungry, in the
  _Reader Magazine_, September, 1905.

Footnote 45:

  Address to the National Educational Association, September 24, 1904,
  as reported in the newspapers.

Footnote 46:

  See Dr. Warner’s excellent little books, Mental Faculty; The Study of
  Children; The Nervous System of the Child, for a discussion of nervous
  signs and the whole subject of child health.

Footnote 47:

  The tendency of children to give such answers has been frequently
  noted and pointed out by foreign investigators. In general, I think it
  can safely be said that children are prone to hide their poverty and
  to exaggerate in an opposite direction.

Footnote 48:

  Report to State Board of Charities. R. Hunter, The Heritage of the
  Hungry.

Footnote 49:

  The Hunger Problem in the Public Schools—What the Canvass of Six Big
  Cities Reveals. Special correspondence in the _Philadelphia North
  American_, May 21, 1905.

Footnote 50:

  _Idem._

Footnote 51:

  _Idem._

Footnote 52:

  _Idem._

Footnote 53:

  Testimony before the Interdepartmental Committee on Physical
  Deterioration, the Royal Commission on Physical Training (Scotland),
  Reports of the London School Board on Underfed Children, etc.

Footnote 54:

  Quoted by G. Stanley Hall, in Adolescence.

Footnote 55:

  _Idem._

Footnote 56:

  Final Report (1882–1883) of the Anthropometric Committee appointed by
  the British Association in 1875.

Footnote 57:

  The figures quoted are taken from an excellent little pamphlet, The
  Cost of Child Labor,—A Study of Diseased and Disabled Children,
  published by the Child Labor Committee of Pennsylvania.

Footnote 58:

  Poverty,—A Town Study, by B. S. Rowntree.

Footnote 59:

  In the pamphlet, The Cost of Child Labor, above referred to.

Footnote 60:

  Annual Report of the Massachusetts State Board of Health, 1877.

Footnote 61:

  Growth of St. Louis School Children, by William T. Porter. Report of
  the Academy of Science of St. Louis, vol. vi, pp. 263–380.

Footnote 62:

  Special Report of Anthropological Investigation of 1000 white and
  colored Children of the New York Juvenile Asylum, by Dr. Hrdlicka.

Footnote 63:

  Report of the Royal Commission on Physical Training (Scotland), p. 30.

Footnote 64:

  State Maintenance, by J. Hunter Watts, p. 10.

Footnote 65:

  Adolescence, by G. Stanley Hall.

Footnote 66:

  Feeble-minded Children in the Public Schools, by Will S. Monroe.

Footnote 67:

  The Cost of Child Labor, pamphlet quoted above.

Footnote 68:

  G. Stanley Hall, _op. cit._, vol. i, p. 401.

Footnote 69:

  A Study in Youthful Degeneracy, by George E. Dawson, in the
  Pedagogical Seminary, iv, 2.

Footnote 70:

  American Journal of Psychology, October, 1898.

Footnote 71:

  Dr. Eichholz, Evidence before the Interdepartmental Committee on
  Physical Deterioration.

Footnote 72:

  Reported in the _New York Times_, May 10, 1905.

Footnote 73:

  Overpressure in Elementary Schools, by James Crichton-Browne, M.D.,
  LL.D., F.R.S., printed by Order of the House of Commons.

Footnote 74:

  See Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, February, 1893.

Footnote 75:

  Hansard’s Debates, 1883.

Footnote 76:

  Justice, Organ of the Social Democratic Federation, vol. i, No. 35,
  September 13, 1884.

Footnote 77:

  Letter to the _London Times_, September 26, 1901.

Footnote 78:

  Report of the Committee; Evidence, p. 484.

Footnote 79:

  _Idem._

Footnote 80:

  Beretning om Kristiania folkeskolevæsen,—various yearly reports.

Footnote 81:

  School Luncheons in the Special Classes of the Public Schools—A
  Suggestive Experiment, by Elizabeth Farrell, in _Charities_, March 11,
  1905.

  Undernourished School Children, by Lillian Wald, a letter in
  _Charities_, March 25, 1905.

Footnote 82:

  Hungry Children in New York Public Schools, by E. Stagg Whitin, in the
  _Commons_, May, 1905.

  Hungry Children are Poor Scholars, an unsigned article in the Official
  Journal of the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers
  of America, May, 1905.

Footnote 83:

  See American Charities, by Professor Warner, for a careful statement
  of this point.

Footnote 84:

  Sixth Biennial Report of the Board of Control and Superintendent of
  the Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected
  Children.

  Other works consulted include: Mentally Deficient Children: Their
    Care and Training, by George E. Shuttleworth; The History of the
    Treatment of the Feeble-minded, by Walter E. Fernald; After Bread,
    Education, by Hubert Bland, 1905; Official Report of the National
    Labor Conference on the State Maintenance of Children, held at the
    Guildhall, London, Friday, January 20, 1905, Sir John Gorst, M.P.,
    Presiding; Report of Investigations into Social Conditions in
    Dundee, Scotland—The Medical Inspection of School Children; Report
    to the Municipal Council of Paris on the Annual Expenditures in
    Connection with the _Cantines Scolaires_; Various Reports of the
    U. S. Commissioner of Education; Reports of the Department of
    Education in many American and Foreign Cities.

  The Pedagogical Seminary.

  Special Reports on Educational Subjects, issued by the Board of
    Education (England).


                         III. THE WORKING CHILD

Footnote 85:

  Politics, by Aristotle, A. IV, 4.

Footnote 86:

  Architecture, Industry, and Wealth, by William Morris, p. 138.

Footnote 87:

  _Idem._

Footnote 88:

  Farfolloni de gli Antichi Historici, by Abb. Lancellotti (Venice,
  1636), quoted by Karl Marx in Capital, English edition, p. 427.

Footnote 89:

  Marx, _op. cit._, p. 428.

Footnote 90:

  A Description of the Country from Thirty to Forty Miles round
  Manchester, by Dr. Aikin. Quoted by R. W. Cooke-Taylor, The Factory
  System and the Factory Acts, p. 17.

Footnote 91:

  Cooke-Taylor, _op. cit._, gives the real name of “Alfred” as Samuel
  Kydd, a barrister-at-law.

Footnote 92:

  Memoirs of Robert Blincoe, N.D.

  Cooke-Taylor, Modern Factory System, pp. 189–198.

  Annals of Toil, by J. Morrison Davidson, p. 262.

  Industrial History of England, H. de B. Gibbins.

Footnote 93:

  H. de B. Gibbins, _op. cit._, pp. 178–181.

Footnote 94:

  Life of Robert Owen, Written by Himself, vol. i, xxvi, pp. 57 _et
  seq._

Footnote 95:

  H. de B. Gibbins, _op. cit._, p. 181.

Footnote 96:

  Cooke-Taylor, The Factory System and the Factory Acts, p. 55.

Footnote 97:

  _Idem._

Footnote 98:

  H. de B. Gibbins, _op. cit._, p. 181.

Footnote 99:

  Hansard, 1832.

Footnote 100:

  The whole poem is given in Mr. H. S. Salt’s little anthology, Songs of
  Freedom, p. 81.

Footnote 101:

  Report on the Ten Hours Bill. J. Morrison Davidson, _op. cit._, p.
  268.

Footnote 102:

  Robert Hunter, Child Labor in New York, Being a Report to the Governor
  of New York.

Footnote 103:

  Child Labor Legislation—A Requisite for Industrial Efficiency, by Jane
  Addams, in the Annals of the American Academy, May, 1905, p. 131.

Footnote 104:

  Problems of the Present South, by Edgar Gardner Murphy, p. 313.

Footnote 105:

  Quoted in _Charities_, August 26, 1905.

Footnote 106:

  Illiteracy Promoted by Perjury. A pamphlet issued by the Pennsylvania
  Child Labor Committee.

Footnote 107:

  U. S. Census, vol. ii.

Footnote 108:

  Illiteracy Promoted by Perjury, p. 3.

Footnote 109:

  U. S. Census, Occupations.

Footnote 110:

  E. G. Murphy, _op. cit._, p. 110.

Footnote 111:

  Annals of the American Academy, May, 1905, p. 21.

Footnote 112:

  Jane Addams, _op. cit._, p. 131.

Footnote 113:

  E. G. Murphy, _op. cit._, p. 143.

Footnote 114:

  _Idem._, p. 103.

Footnote 115:

  An address to the Manufacturers of Cotton, delivered at Glasgow, by
  Robert Owen, 1815.

Footnote 116:

  U. S. Census, vol. ix.

Footnote 117:

  _Idem._

Footnote 118:

  Report (unpublished) to the Child Labor Committee, by Owen R. Lovejoy.

Footnote 119:

  Child Labor Legislation. Schedules of Existing Legislation. Handbook
  of National Consumers’ League, compiled by J. C. Goldmark and Madeline
  Wallin Sikes.

Footnote 120:

  The Needless Destruction of Boys, by Florence Kelley, _Charities_,
  June 3, 1905.

Footnote 121:

  Boys in the Glass Industry, by Harriet M. Van Der Vaart, the
  _Churchman_, May 6, 1905.

Footnote 122:

  Owen R. Lovejoy, report quoted.

Footnote 123:

  Florence Kelley, _op. cit._

Footnote 124:

  The Anthracite Coal Communities, by Peter Roberts, Ph.D., p. 177.

  Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 237.

Footnote 125:

  Working Children in Pennsylvania—Pamphlet issued by the Child Labor
  Committee of Pennsylvania.

Footnote 126:

  Child Labor in New York, by Robert Hunter, p. 5.

Footnote 127:

  _Idem._

Footnote 128:

  U. S. Census, vol. viii, Manufactures, Part II.

Footnote 129:

  From a press report of a lecture at Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.,
  by Margaret Dreier (Mrs. Raymond Robins).

Footnote 130:

  From an address by Mrs. Florence Kelley, delivered at the Annual
  Meeting of the Consumers’ League, January, 1904. Published in the
  Report of the Consumers’ League of New York for the year ending
  December, 1903.

Footnote 131:

  Transactions Illinois Child Study Association, vol. i, No. 1.

Footnote 132:

  Labor Problems, by Thomas Sewall Adams, Ph.D., and Helen L. Sumner,
  A.B., pp. 62 _et seq._

Footnote 133:

  “In a recent investigation made by the Minnesota Bureau of Labor, it
  was found that, of the few wage-earners considered, the boys under
  sixteen had twice as many accidents as the adults, and the girls under
  sixteen thirty-three times as many accidents as the women.”—Adams and
  Sumner, _op. cit._, p. 63.

Footnote 134:

  The Cost of Child Labor—pamphlet issued by the Child Labor Committee
  of Pennsylvania, p. 31.

Footnote 135:

  Children in American Street Trades, by Myron E. Adams, in the Annals
  of the American Academy, May, 1905.

Footnote 136:

  Child Labor—The Street, by Ernest Poole.

  Child Labor—Factories and Stores, by Ernest Poole.

  Myron E. Adams, _op. cit._

Footnote 137:

  Ernest Poole, _op. cit._

Footnote 138:

  _Idem._

Footnote 139:

  Unprotected Children—pamphlet issued by the Child Labor Committee of
  Pennsylvania.

Footnote 140:

  See also Child Labor in New Jersey, by Hugh F. Fox, in Annals of the
  American Academy, July, 1902.

Footnote 141:

  Jane Addams, _op. cit._, p. 131.

Footnote 142:

  The Minotola Strike, by the Hon. John W. Westcott, in _Wilshire’s
  Magazine_, September, 1903.

Footnote 143:

  Hannah R. Sewall, _op. cit._, p. 491.

Footnote 144:

  Child Labor in Southern Industry, by A. J. McKelway, in Annals of the
  American Academy, May, 1905, p. 433.

Footnote 145:

  The Economics of Socialism, by Henry M. Hyndman, p. 80.

Footnote 146:

  See, for instance, Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 244; Mrs. Sidney
  Webb, in The Case for the Factory Acts, etc.

Footnote 147:

  History of Coöperation, by George Jacob Holyoake, vol. i, p. 213.

Footnote 148:

  Mrs. Sidney Webb, _op. cit._

Footnote 149:

  Report of the Consumers’ League of the City of New York, 1903, p. 21.

Footnote 150:

  The Children of the Coal Shadow, _McClure’s Magazine_, 1902.

Footnote 151:

  _The Churchman_, August 5, 1905.

Footnote 152:

  The Operation of the New Child Labor Law in New Jersey, by Hugh F.
  Fox, in Annals of the American Academy, May, 1905.

  Other works consulted include:—

  Report of the Royal Commission on Labor (England); Report of the
    Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration.

  Hull House Maps and Papers.

  Reports of the Industrial Commission (especially vol. xix).

  Dangerous Trades, edited by Professor T. Oliver.

  The Effects of the Factory System, by Allen Clarke.

  Various Reports of the Different Bureaus of Labor, etc.


                         IV. REMEDIAL MEASURES

Footnote 153:

  The Diseases of Children, by Henry Ashby, M.D., and G. A. Wright,
  B.A., pp. 14 _et seq._

Footnote 154:

  _Idem._

  See also the article on The Shameful Misuse of Wealth, by Cleveland
  Moffett, in _Success_, March, 1905.

Footnote 155:

  See, _e.g._, the letters from several leading physicians on this
  subject in _Success_, April, 1905 (Appendix C).

Footnote 156:

  Cleveland Moffett, _op. cit._

Footnote 157:

  _Idem._

Footnote 158:

  Hygiène de la Femme Enceinte. De la Puericulture Intrauterine, par Dr.
  A. Pinard. X^e Congrès International d’Hygiène, etc., Paris, 1900, p.
  417.

  Factory Employment and Childbirth, by Adelaide M. Anderson, in
  Dangerous Trades, edited by Professor Thomas Oliver.

  Is the High Infantile Death-rate due to the Occupation of Married
  Women? by Mrs. F. J. Greenwood, Sanitary Inspector for Sheffield.
  Reprinted from the _Englishwoman’s Review_, 1901.

  In Germany, it is worth remembering, the working woman who is
  compelled to cease work owing to the birth of a child receives a sum
  equal to half her weekly wage.—See Infant Mortality and Factory Labor,
  by Dr. George Reid, in Dangerous Trades, p. 89.

Footnote 159:

  Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration.

Footnote 160:

  The Social Unrest, by John Graham Brooks, p. 292.

Footnote 161:

  _Vide_ leaflet issued by the Child Labor Committee of New York.

Footnote 162:

  How to Save the Babies of the Tenements, by Virginia M. Walker, in
  _Charities_, August 5, 1905.

Footnote 163:

  Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration,
  vol. ii, pp. 442–450.

  The Nutrition of the Infant, by Ralph M. Vincent, M.D.

  The Problem of the Milk Supply, by F. Lawson Dodd, M.R.C.S.

  Infantile Mortality and Infants’ Milk Depots, by G. F. McCleary, M.D.

Footnote 164:

  Projet pour le Contrôle Hygiènique de l’Approvisionnement du Lait
  Municipal, by George W. Goler, M.D.

  But a Thousand a Year, by George W. Goler, M.D., reprinted from
  _Charities_.

Footnote 165:

  The School Child, the School Nurse, and the Local School Board, by
  Elsie Clews Parsons, _Charities_, September 23, 1905.

Footnote 166:

  Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration,
  vol. i, p. 47.

Footnote 167:

  _Idem._

Footnote 168:

  The figures are quoted from a speech by Mr. Homer Folks, at the first
  annual meeting of the Association for the Study and Prevention of
  Tuberculosis, held at Washington, D.C., May 18–19, 1905.

Footnote 169:

  Virginia M. Walker, _op. cit._

Footnote 170:

  _Idem._

Footnote 171:

  Ralph M. Vincent, M.D., _op. cit._, also evidence given before the
  Interdepartmental Committee on Physical Deterioration.

  Virginia M. Walker, _op. cit._

Footnote 172:

  This paragraph is taken, with slight changes, from my paper on The
  Problem of the Underfed Children in our Public Schools, in the
  _Independent_, May 11, 1905.

Footnote 173:

  See the Official Report of the National Labor Conference on the State
  Maintenance of Children, Held at the Guildhall, London, etc.

Footnote 174:

  See, for instance, the evidence given by Mr. John Tweedy, F.R.C.S. and
  L.R.C.P., President of the Royal College of Surgeons and of the
  Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom, before the
  Interdepartmental Committee.

Footnote 175:

  Physical Efficiency in Children, by Sir James Crichton Browne, in the
  Report of the International Congress for the Welfare and Protection of
  Children, London, 1902.

  See also the Reports of the Interdepartmental Committee and the Royal
  Commission on Physical Training (Scotland), for descriptions of the
  systems adopted in various European cities.

  The Medical Inspection of School Children, by W. L. Mackenzie, M.A.,
  M.D.

  For a very suggestive, but technical, account of a system of medical
  inspection adopted in Dundee, Scotland, see the Report of
  Investigation into Social Conditions, published by the Dundee Social
  Union,—Part I, The Medical Inspection of School Children.

Footnote 176:

  The Heritage of the Hungry, by Robert Hunter.

Footnote 177:

  Special Reports on Educational Subjects, issued by the (English) Board
  of Education.

Footnote 178:

  Royal Commission on Physical Training (Scotland), Report.

Footnote 179:

  _Idem._

Footnote 180:

  Poverty, by Robert Hunter, p. 259.

Footnote 181:

  The importance of attending to the teeth of school children has been
  sadly overlooked in the United States. In some of our cities, notably
  Rochester, N.Y., the attention of the medical inspectors of the
  schools has been specially directed to the teeth, with important
  results. See, for instance, the paper by Dr. Goler on Some General
  Tuberculosis Problems, in the _New York State Journal of Medicine_,
  August, 1905.

Footnote 182:

  Bulletin of the U. S. Bureau of Labor, No. 59, p. 309.

Footnote 183:

  The Field before the National Child Labor Committee, by Homer Folks,
  in _Charities_, October 1, 1904.

  Child Labor and the Schools, by Florence Lucas Sanville, in
  _Charities_, August 26, 1905.

  Illiterate Children in the Great Industrial States, by Florence
  Kelley, reprinted from _Charities_.

Footnote 184:

  Child Labor.—The Street, by Ernest Poole.

  Children in American Street Trades, by Myron E. Adams, in the Annals
  of the American Academy, May, 1905.

  The Employment of Children, with Special Reference to Street Trading,
  by Robert Peacock, Chief Constable of Manchester (England). A Paper
  read at the Third International Congress for the Welfare and
  Protection of Children, London, 1902.—Report, pp. 191–202.

  See also the evidence given by various witnesses before the Royal
  Commission on Physical Training (Scotland).

Footnote 185:

  Education and the Larger Life, by C. Hanford Henderson, p. 142.



                                 INDEX


                                   A
 Aberdeen, underfed school children in, 272.
 Addams, Jane, 148, 196.
 Adenoids, 107, 296.
 Adulteration of Food, 85.
 Aikin, Dr., 130.
 Airy, Dr., H.M.I., 112, 113.
 ALABAMA:
   Child Labor Committee, 142.
   Child Labor in, 148, 149.
 _Alcoholzehntel_ (Switzerland), 254.
 “Alfred,” History of the Factory Movement, 131.
 Allentown, Pennsylvania, 183, 184.
 Anæmia, 5, 83, 294.
 _Annual Register_, 1792, 135.
 Apprentices, pauper, 131–140.
 Aristotle, 100, 125, 126, 127.
 Artificial flower making, 146, 172, 173, 177.
 Ashby, Dr. Henry, 18.
 Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, 233.
 Asthma, 164.
 ASYLUMS:
   New York Foundling, 22.
   New York Juvenile, 187.
   Furnishing Child Labor, 198.
 Atrophy, 21.
 Augusta, Georgia, 150.
 AUSTRALIA:
   Death-rate reduced in, 245, 247.
   Women nurse inspectors in, 244.

                                   B
 Back Bay, Boston, 7.
 BACKWARD CHILDREN:
   Become child laborers, 103.
   Condition traceable to poor nutrition, 108, 278
   Experiments in feeding, 115–116.
   Improvement of, when properly fed, 276.
   Injurious influence of, on other children, 102.
   Investigation of, in California, 101–102.
   Number of, in United States, estimated, 102.
   Poor physique of, 100–101.
   Results of feeding in England, 111, 273.
   Results of feeding in France, 115.
   Results of feeding in Norway, 115, 276.
   Special classes for, 101.
   Tend to become criminals and paupers, 104, 105.
 Baillestre, Dr., 21 _n._
 Ballantyne, Dr., 9 _n._
 Beach, Dr. Fletcher, 108.
 Beading slippers, 172.
 BELGIUM:
   Meals for school children in, 276.
   Medical inspection in schools, 253, 276, 277.
   (_See also_ Brussels.)
 Belgravia, London, 5.
 BERLIN:
   Infant death-rate reduced in, 247.
   School meals in, 274.
   School sanatoria in, 255.
   Still-births registered in, 52.
 Bethnal Green, London, 5.
 Beyer, Professor, 100.
 Biddeford, Maine, 153.
 BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND:
   Board of Education, 112.
   Feeding of school children in, 112, 113, 272, 273.
   Infant mortality in, 26.
   Blincoe, Robert, quoted, 132.
   Blood poisoning, 223.
 Board of Charities, New York, 83.
 Board of Education, Birmingham, England, 112, 113.
 Board of Education, New York, 65, 66, 73.
 Board of Education, Sheffield, England, 110.
 BOARD OF HEALTH:
   As educational agency, 244.
   Lawrence, Massachusetts, 39.
   New York City, 299.
   Rochester, New York, 28.
 Board of Regents, 225.
 Bootblacks, 184.
 BOSTON:
   Child-labor legislation in, 259.
   Death-rate in, 7.
   Physical condition of poor children in, 98.
   Underfed school children in, 85, 89.
 Bowditch, Dr., 98.
 Bowel disorders caused by malnutrition, 82.
 Brassey, Thomas, 201.
 British Anthropometric Committee, 96.
 BRITISH INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE:
   Continuation classes recommended by, 241.
   Dr. Airy’s evidence before, 112–133.
   Dr. Vincent’s evidence before, 235.
   Heredity considered, 291–294.
   Obstetrical statistics, 8–9.
   Regulations concerning the employment of married women, 230.
 British Medical Association, 108.
 BRONCHITIS:
   Candy making predisposing to, 179.
   Infant mortality from, 21.
   Rachitis predisposing to, 15, 17, 298.
 Browning, Mrs., 57.
 BRUSSELS:
   Medical examination of school children, 253, 254, 277.
   School dinners in, 276.
 BUFFALO, NEW YORK:
   Child-labor legislation in, 259.
   Underfed school children in, 83, 84, 85.
 Bumbledom, British, 131, 134, 150.

                                   C
 _Caisse des écoles_, 278–286.
 California, backward school children in, 101, 102.
 CANNING FACTORIES:
   In Maine, 170.
   Maryland, 169, 170.
   New York, 169.
 _Cantines Scolaires_, 115, 249, 277–280, 282–287.
 Cartwright’s invention, 126.
 _Charities_, 234 _n._
 CHARITY:
   Dangers arising from, 236.
   Failure of, 54.
   Important experimental work done by, 234.
 CHICAGO:
   Child-labor investigation in, 208.
   Comparative death-rates, 5.
   Physical condition of working children, 175.
   School meals in, 273.
   Still-births in, non-registration of, 12.
   Stock yards, child labor in, 189.
   Studies of Smedley and Christopher in, 100.
   Underfed school children in, 84, 85, 89, 273–274.
 CHILD LABOR:
   Backward children and, 103.
   Census figures of, inadequate, 144.
   Cheap goods and, 261.
   Cost to society of, 194.
   Dangerous conditions surrounding, 168, 175–181.
   Domestic industry and, 127–129.
   German legislation on, 257.
   Immigration and, 214.
   In Alabama, 142, 149.
   In canning factories, 168, 169, 170.
   In cigar and tobacco factories, 167.
   In England and Scotland, 130–140.
   In Georgia, 150.
   In glass factories, 154–162.
   In Illinois, 208.
   In Indiana, 154, 155, 161.
   In laundries, 168.
   In Maine, 153.
   In Maryland, 169–170.
   In Massachusetts, 153.
   In mines and quarries, 163, 167.
   In New Hampshire, 153.
   In New Jersey, 152, 154, 198.
   In New Lanark, 134–135.
   In New York, 141, 144.
   In Ohio, 154, 159, 160, 162.
   In Pennsylvania, 143, 144, 151, 154, 155, 163–164, 165, 166, 167,
      168, 183.
   In restaurants and hotels, 168.
   In South Carolina, 148, 149.
   In Southern states, 141, 142, 148, 149, 150, 151, 199.
   In stores, 168.
   In textile industries, 148–154.
   In United States, 142, 143, 145.
   In West Virginia, 166.
   In wood-working industries, 168.
   Industrial revolution and, 130–140.
   Introduction of machinery retarded by, 203.
   Machine age and, 129.
   Machinery and, 202.
   Moral ills of, 181–190.
   Parental responsibility for, 205, 206.
   Reasons for, 195–217, 305–306.
   Synonymous with slavery, 127.
   Unions opposed to, 193.
   Unnecessary, 200.
   Wages of adults affected by, 192, 194.
 CHILD LABOR COMMITTEE:
   Alabama Child Labor Committee, 142.
   National Child Labor Committee, 163.
   New York Child Labor Committee, 169.
   Pennsylvania Child Labor Committee, 144.
 Cholera infantum, 21.
 Cholera morbus, 21.
 Christiania, school meals in, 115, 275.
 Christopher, Professor, 100.
 Cleveland, Ohio, underfed school children in, 85, 89.
 Coe, Dr. Henry C., 300.
 _Colonies Scolaires_, 254, 255.
 Columbia University, 116.
 Committee of House of Commons, 139.
 Competition of children with elders, 192.
 Consumers’ League of New York, 208.
 CONSUMPTION:
   Among children, 175.
   Infantile mortality from, 21.
   Leather work predisposing to, 178.
   Miners’, 164. (See _also_ Tuberculosis.)
 Continuation classes, 241, 242.
 CONVULSIONS:
   Infantile mortality from, 19, 21.
   Rachitis predisposing to, 17, 298.
 Cotton manufacture, see Textile industries.
 _Crèches_, 50, 55, 221, 231–233, 242.
 Crichton-Browne, Dr., 108.
 Cronin, Dr. John, 109, 253.
 Croup, infant mortality from, 21.

                                   D
 Dale, David, 134.
 Dangerous occupations, 175–181.
 Daniel, Dr. Annie S., quoted, 34.
 Danton, quoted, 247.
 Darlington, Dr. Thomas, quoted, 299.
 Dawson, Professor, 195.
 DEATH-RATES:
   Among English pauper apprentices, 134.
   Birmingham, England, 26.
   Comparative general, 6, 7.
   Comparative infantile, 7.
   England and Wales, 10, 11, 12, 13.
   France, infantile, 21 n.
   In Foundling Asylums, 232.
   Of infants from specified causes, 21.
   Of infants in Metropolitan Free Hospital, London, 7.
   Of United States compared with England and Wales, 11–13.
   Poverty’s effect upon, 5–7, 14–21.
 Debility, infant mortality from, 21.
 Defective children, 101, 111.
 Defective hearing among school children, 107, 253.
 Defective vision among school children, 107, 251–253, 281.
 DEMOCRACY:
   Education as safeguard of, 58.
   Of birth and death, 8, 293, 294, 295, 296.
 Dental examination of school children, 253, 255, 277.
 Dependence of families on children’s wages, 207–210.
 DIARRHŒA:
   Infant mortality from, 21.
   Infant mortality from, among rachitic children, 17, 298.
 Dixon, George, 112.
 Doble, Mr. Roscoe, quoted, 39.
 Dodd, Dr. F. Lawson, quoted, 303.
 Dolphus, Jean, 50.
 Domestic industry, children in, 127, 174.
 Downe, Jonathan, quoted, 139.
 Drysdale, Dr. Charles R., 7.
 Dundee, underfed children in, 272.
 Durland, Kellogg, 210.
 Duruy, M., Minister of Public Instruction, Paris, 278.
 Dyspepsia among glass workers, 60.

                                   E
 Eastport, Maine, 170.
 EDUCATION:
   Compulsory, 58, 280.
   Improvement in, means of, 59.
   Of backward children in special classes, 101, 102.
   Of girls in continuation classes, 241, 242.
   Of idiots and feeble-minded children, 101.
   Of mothers by literature, 243, 245.
   Of mothers by literature, cost of, 243.
   Of mothers by school nurses, 242.
   Of physically defective children, 101, 111.
   Poor material for, 59–60, 276, 294.
 Eichholz, Dr., 272, 291, 295.
 Ellis, Mrs. Havelock, 30.
 Elysée, Paris, 5.
 ENGLAND:
   Alarm caused by infant mortality in, 9–10.
   Comparison of physical development of children in, 96–98.
   Feeding of children in schools, 109, 117, 272.
   Infant mortality in, 9–10.
   Laws regulating employment of married women in, 45.
   Pasteurization of milk introduced in, 235.
   Problem of poverty in, 63–64.
   Regulation of midwives in, 224.
   Underfeeding in, 297.
 Epilepsy, 17.
 Erfurt, vital statistics of, 7.
 Etzler, J. A., 203.

                                   F
 Factory Act, first English, 136.
   (_See also_ Legislation.)
 Fall River, Massachusetts, child labor in, 153.
 Fancy-box making, 172, 174.
 Fancy-slipper making, 172.
 Felt-hat manufacture, dangers from, 176, 177.
 Folks, Homer, 231, 306.
 Fourier, Charles, 64.
 Fox, Charles H., and Fox Bros., 50, 51.
 FRANCE:
   _Caisse des écoles_ and their use, 278–285.
   _Cantines Scolaires_, 115, 249.
   Cost of school meals in, 283–286.
   _Crèches_, 50, 55, 221, 231–233, 242.
   Fresh-air outings in, 94.
   _Gouttes de Lait_, 55, 235.
   Infant death-rate in, 21 _n._
   Medical inspection in schools, 253, 256, 281.
   Pensions to mothers, 229.
   School colonies, 280, 281.
   School funds, see _Caisse des écoles_.
   School meals in, 277–280, 282–286.

                                   G
 GERMANY:
   Child-labor legislation in, 257.
   Death certificates in, 245.
   Medical inspection in schools, 253, 255.
   Midwives, regulation of, in, 224, 300.
   School meals in, 274.
 Gillette, Dr., 21 _n._
 Gladstone, Herbert, M.P., 271.
 Glasgow, Scotland, underfed children in, 272.
 Glassborough, New Jersey, 161.
 GLASS MANUFACTURE:
   Child labor unnecessary in, 200.
   Children employed in, 154–162.
   In United States, 154.
   In Venice and Murano, seventeenth century, 128.
   Machinery used in, 204.
 Goler, Dr. George W., 22, 235, 304.
 Gorst, Sir John, 27.
 _Gouttes de Lait_, 55, 235.
 Groszmann, Dr., 101.

                                   H
 Hall, Professor G. Stanley, 101.
 _Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates_, 138.
 Henderson, C. Hanford, 229.
 Heredity, 8, 9, 291–296.
 History of the Factory Movement, 131.
 Holiday Colonies (Switzerland), 254.
 Holt, Dr. L. Emmet, 296–297.
 Home employment of mothers, 33.
 Home industries, children employed in, 171–174.
 Hood, Thomas, 156.
 Hornbaker, William, principal Chicago school, 84.
 HOSPITALS:
   Bellevue, New York City, 300.
   Death-rate in Foundling, 232.
   Filled by victims of childhood poverty, 24.
   General Memorial, New York City, 300.
   Infants’, Randall’s Island, New York City, 232.
   Metropolitan Free, London, 7.
   New York Babies’, inquiry in, 27.
   New York Lying-in, 224.
 HOUSING:
   Among Italians, 78.
   Among Jews, 25.
   Infantile death-rate not lowered by improvement in, 26.
   Relation of, to tuberculosis, 26.
 Hrdlicka, Dr., 98.
 Huddersfield, England, campaign of education in, 30.
 Hungarians in carpet works, 178.
 Hunter, Robert, 61, 62, 63, 65, 277, 286.
 Huxley, Professor T. H., 77.
 Hyndman, H. M., 271.

                                   I
 Iceland, loom used in, 126.
 IGNORANCE:
   A cause of malnutrition, 82.
   Among factory girls, 31, 32.
   Babies victims of, 27, 28, 29–32, 37, 39, 239.
   Campaign against maternal, 30, 31, 240.
   Often only one of poverty’s disguises, 37.
   Remedial measures for, 30, 239–245.
   Social need of protection against, 214.
 Illegitimate children, death-rate among, 7.
 ILLINOIS:
   Child-labor investigation in, 208, 209, 210.
   Child-labor law, 208.
   (_See also_ Chicago.)
 Illiteracy in the United States, 143.
 Imbeciles in English cotton mills, 134.
 Inanition, infant mortality from, 12.
 INDIANA:
   Child labor in, 154, 155, 161.
   Children working by night in, 161.
   Glass manufacture in, 154, 155, 159, 161.
 Industrial revolution in England, 130, 149.
 Industrial Schools, England, 96.
 Industrial Schools, New York City, 83.
 INFANTILE MORTALITY:
   Among Irish and Italians, 25, 26.
   Among Jews, 25, 26.
   Effect of improved milk supply on, 22, 23, 247.
   Employment of mothers a cause of, 37, 38–44, 50.
   From eleven given causes, 21.
   Ignorance of mothers a cause of, 27, 28, 29–32, 37, 39, 239.
   In England and Wales, 9–12.
   In United States, 11–13.
   Lowered in siege of Paris and Lancashire cotton famine, 43, 44.
   Malnutrition principal cause of, 26, 27.
   Not affected by sanitary improvements, 26.
   Proportion of, due to poverty, 20.
   Proportion of, due to socially preventable causes, 13, 21.
   Reduced in Australia, Berlin, and Rochester, 247.
   Relative, among rich and poor, 7.
   Still-births and, 52.
 INTEMPERANCE:
   As a cause of child labor, 210, 211.
   Employment of married women due to, 34.
   Malnutrition as a cause of, 90.
 Inter-Departmental Committee, see British Interdepartmental Committee.
 IRISH:
   Infantile mortality among, 26.
   Underfed school children among, 26.
 ITALIANS:
   Child labor among, 199.
   Housing among, 78.
   Infant mortality among, 26.
   Underfed children among, 71, 78.
 ITALY:
   Feeding of school children in, 248, 249, 274, 287–290.
   Medical attendance free in, 275.
   Medical inspection in schools, 253.

                                   J
 Jenner, Sir William, 16.
 Jevons, Professor W. S., 38.
 JEWS:
   Bad housing among, 25.
   Mortality of infants among, 25.
 Juvenile delinquents, 187–189.

                                   K
 Keen, Dr. W. W., 98.
 Kelley, Mrs. Florence, 160, 162.
 Kensington Labor Lyceum, Philadelphia, 151.
 Kilham, Dr. Eleanor B., 301, 302.
 Kline, Professor, 105.
 Knopf, Dr. S. A., 26.

                                   L
 _Laissez faire_, 136, 141.
 Lancashire, England, cotton famine, 44, 51.
 Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 184.
 _La Revolté_, 147.
 Laryngismus Stridulus, 298.
 Lawrence, Massachusetts, child labor in, 153.
 Lead poisoning, 179.
 Lechstrecker, Dr. H. M., 83.
 LEGISLATION:
   Alabama Child Labor Committee and, 142.
   Artificial infant foods should be subject to, 245–246.
   Child labor, suggested, 256–260. (_See also_ Child Labor.)
   Factory acts, first British, 136.
   Feeding of school children matter for, 271, 272, 279, 280.
   German child labor, 257.
   Interest of society to protect children by, 191, 305–306.
   _Manufacturers’ Record_ on child labor, 142.
   Midwifery, regulation of, by, 222, 225, 299, 300, 301.
   Relating to employment of mothers near childbirth, 44, 45, 49, 227,
      230.
   Relating to street trades, 258, 259.
   Ten Hours’ Bill in England, 137, 139.
   United States in need of further, 257–260.
 Leipzic, physique of school children in, 96.
 LITTLE MOTHERS:
   Among Italians, 78.
   A social menace, 38.
   Responsible for much infant mortality, 38, 39, 44.
 Litton Mill, 133.
 LONDON:
   Death-rate of infants in, 7.
   Death-rates of Belgravia and Bethnal Green, 5.
   Obstetrical Society of, 294, 295.
   Physical degeneration among school children in, 291–293.
   Special school for defective children, 111.
   Underfeeding of children in, 272.
 Los Angeles, California, underfed school children in, 85.
 Lovejoy, Owen R., 158, 161.
 Lowe, David, 218.
 Lubec, Maine, 170.

                                   M
 McKelway, Dr., 148, 199.
 Maine, canning factories, 170.
 Malins, Dr. Edward, 294.
 Manchester, England, epidemic in, 135.
 Manchester, New Hampshire, 153.
 _Manufacturers’ Record_ on child-labor legislation, 142.
 Marasmus, 297.
 MARRIED WOMEN, EMPLOYMENT OF:
   Away from homes, 33, 34, 37–44.
   Census returns of, inadequate, 32, 33.
   Daniel, Dr. Annie S., on, 34.
   Evil results of, 32, 35–51.
   Infantile mortality caused by, 37, 38–44, 50.
   In home industries, 33, 34–37.
   Jevons, Professor W. S., on, 38.
   Legislation relating to, 44, 45, 49, 227, 230.
   Wages of married women workers, 31, 32, 34.
 Maryland, 169.
 Maxwell, Dr. W. H., 64.
 Measles, 17–21, 298.
 MEDICAL INSPECTION IN SCHOOLS:
   In Belgium, 253, 276, 277.
   In England, 253.
   In France, 109, 253, 280, 281.
   In Germany, 253, 255.
   In Italy, 109, 253, 275.
   In London, 198.
   In Minnesota, 281.
   In New York City, 107, 109, 253, 281.
   In Norway, 109, 253, 254.
   In Switzerland, 253.
   In United States, need of, 251–253, 255–256, 281, 282.
 Ménilmontant, Paris, death-rate in, 5.
 Messengers, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189.
 MIDWIVES:
   Inefficiency of, 53, 300.
   Maternal deaths due to, 300.
   Still-births due to ignorance of, 53.
   Supervision of, needed, 222–226, 299, 300, 301.
 MILK:
   Adulteration of, 28, 29.
   High death-rate due to impure, 22.
   Sterilization of, 235, 304–305.
   Straus system of Pasteurization of, 22, 29, 234–236.
   (_See also_ Municipal Milk Depots.)
 Minnesota, investigation of school children in, 281.
 Minnesota State Public School, at Owatonna, 120, 121.
 Minotola, New Jersey, strike of glass-blowers in, 198.
 Monroe, Professor W. S., 101, 102.
 Montgomery, Alabama, 149.
 Montmartre, Paris, 279, 280, 282.
 Morris, William, 126.
 Moscow, 96.
 “Mother” Mary Jones, 151.
 Mt. Carbon, West Virginia, 166.
 Mundella, Mr., M.P., 108, 109.
 MUNICIPAL MILK DEPOTS:
   Advantages of, 234–238, 302–305.
   Dodd, Lawson, on, 303.
   French, see _Gouttes de Lait_.
   In England, 234, 235.
   In Europe, 238.
   Powell, Sir Richard Douglas, on, 303.
   Rochester, New York, 22, 23, 235, 236, 238, 304–305.
   St. Helen’s, Lancashire, England, 235.
 Murphy, Edward Gardner, 148.

                                   N
 Nathan, Mrs. Frederick, 208.
 National Child Labor Committee, 163.
 NEW JERSEY:
   Child-labor investigation in, 210.
   Child-labor law, 1904, 210.
   Glass manufacture, 154.
   Glass manufacture, children employed in, 154, 159, 161, 162.
   Orphan Asylum children employed in, 198.
 New Lanark, Scotland, 134.
 Newsboys, 184, 185, 187, 188, 258.
 NEW YORK CITY:
   Child-labor legislation in, 258.
   Estimated number of children in, 61.
   Foundling Asylum in, 22.
   Home factories in, 33–37, 173.
   Medical inspection in schools of, 107, 109, 253, 281.
   School nurses in, 242.
   Still-births in, 52.
   Underfed school children in, 61, 64–83, 90–95.
 New York Child Labor Committee, 169.
 New York County Medical Association, 224.
 New York Foundling Asylum, 22.
 NEW YORK STATE:
   Canning factories in, 169.
   Carpet factories in, 178.
   Child labor in, 141.
   Child-labor investigation in, 210.
   Child-labor legislation in, 258.
   Midwives, regulation of, 223, 299.
   Number of children of school age not attending school in, 144.
 Nibecker, Mr., Supt. House of Refuge, Pennsylvania, 187.
 Nichols, Mr. Francis H., 210.
 NORWAY:
   Backward children in, 115, 276.
   Excursions for school children, 275.
   Meals for school children, 114, 115, 275, 276.
   Medical inspection of school children in, 109, 253, 254.
   School sanatoria, 254.
   Special dietary for weak children, 115, 254.
 Notes and authorities, 307–323.
 Nottingham, England, 132.

                                   O
 Oastler, Richard, M.P., 137.
 Obstetrical Society of London, 294, 295.
 Ohio, child labor in, 154, 159, 160, 162.
   Glass manufacture in, 154.
 Oneida, New York, 169.
 Orphan children compelled to work, 162, 198.
 Owatonna, Minnesota, 120, 121.
 Owen, Robert, 134, 135, 153, 165.
 Oxford, Maryland, 169.

                                   P
 Paralysis, 178.
 PARIS:
   _Caisse des écoles_, 278–282, 283, 284.
   _Cantines Scolaires_, 115, 249, 277–287.
   Death-rates in Elysée and Ménilmontant, 5.
   Infant mortality during siege of, 43, 44, 51.
   Medical inspection in schools of, 109.
   Underfeeding and dulness, 109.
 Parsons, Mrs. Elsie Clews, 239.
 PASTEURIZATION OF MILK:
   In New York City, 29, 234, 236.
   In New York Foundling Asylum, 22.
   In Rochester, New York, 22, 23, 235, 236, 238.
   In St. Helen’s, Lancashire, England, 235.
   Renders digestion difficult, 305.
   Scorbutus caused by, 304.
   Unnecessary, 235.
 PATENT INFANT FOODS:
   Dangers arising from, 28.
   Federal supervision of manufacture and sale of, 245.
 Paterson, New Jersey, 152.
 Paton, Dr. Noel, 9 _n._
 Pauper apprentices in England, 131–136, 150, 162.
 Peek, Sir Henry, 109.
 Peel, Sir Robert, 136.
 PENNSYLVANIA:
   Cigarmakers’ Union and child labor in, 193.
   Employment of children in cigar factories in, 167, 168.
   Employment of children in glass factories, 154, 155, 159.
   Employment of children in mines, 163.
   Investigation by Child Labor Commissioner of, 144.
   Investigation of reasons for employment of children, 210.
   Orphan children employed in, 198.
 Pertussis, 298.
 PHILADELPHIA:
   Employment of children in, 144, 151.
   Still-births formerly not registered, 12.
   Underfed children in, 85.
 Phosphor poisoning, 179.
 PHYSICAL CONDITION OF POOR CHILDREN:
   Accountable for educational failures, 100.
   Inferior to richer children, 96–98.
   Investigations in Chicago of, 175.
   Investigations in England of, 10, 108, 291.
   Malnutrition responsible for, 106.
   Report of Royal Commission on Physical Training (Scotland) on, 98,
      99.
   Responsible for criminality, 105–108.
   (_See also_ Underfeeding and Poverty.)
 Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 168.
 Pittston, Pennsylvania, 143, 163.
 Playfair, Dr., 7.
 PNEUMONIA:
   Infant mortality from, 21.
   Porter, Dr., 98, 100.
   Rachitis predisposing to, 17.
 _Poverty_, 277.
 POVERTY:
   Children in United States victims of, 61, 63, 117–124.
   Cost to society of, 23, 24.
   Educational failures largely due to, 60, 100–105, 279.
   Effect upon infantile mortality of, 13, 19, 20, 21, 23.
   Estimated number of persons in United States in, 61, 63.
   Mortality from convulsions, measles, and rickets increased by, 17–19.
   Most heavily felt by children, 1–3, 61.
   Proportion of still-births due to, 52.
   Reason for child labor, 206–213.
   Relation to death and disease, 14–24.
 PRISONS:
   And child labor, 194.
   Filled by victims of poverty, 24.

                                   Q
 Quarries, child labor in, 163.
 Quinlin, Dr. Francis, 301.

                                   R
 Rachitis, 5, 15–18, 78, 175, 294, 297, 298.
 Reclus, Élie, 44.
 Reformatories and child labor, 162, 194.
 Reformatories filled by victims of poverty, 24.
 Reggia Emilia, Italy, 274.
 Report on Physical Training (Scotland), 98, 99.
 Rickets, _see_ Rachitis.
 Roberts, Dr. Charles W., 96, 98.
 Roberts, Rev. Peter, 183.
 ROCHESTER, NEW YORK:
   Death-rate reduced in, 23, 247.
   Employment of children in, 192.
   Milk supply in, 22, 23, 235, 236, 238, 304–305.
 Rousden, England, 109.
 Rowntree, B. S., 98.
 Ruskin, John, 191.
 Ryan, Charles L., School Principal, Buffalo, New York, 83.

                                   S
 Sadler, Michael, M.P., 137, 138.
 Salvation Army, 68, 73, 94.
 San Remo, Italy, 274.
 SCHOOL CHILDREN:
   Defective hearing among, 107.
   Defective vision among, 107, 251–253, 281.
   Meals furnished to, in Belgium, 254, 276.
   Meals furnished to, in Chicago, 84, 85, 273.
   Meals furnished to, in England, 109–115, 272–273.
   Meals furnished to, in France, 115, 249, 277–280, 282–286.
   Meals furnished to, in Germany, 274.
   Meals furnished to, in Italy, 248, 274, 287–290.
   Meals furnished to, in New York, 116, 117.
   Meals furnished to, in Norway, 114, 115, 254, 275.
   Meals furnished to, in Switzerland, 254, 277, 278.
   Medical inspection of, 107–110, 198, 253–254, 275–277, 280–281.
   Physical condition of, investigated, 96–101, 107–110.
   Physical deterioration of, in England, 292–296.
   Underfeeding of, _see_ Underfeeding.
   Venereal diseases among industrial, 184, 185.
 School colonies, 254, 255, 281.
 School funds, see _Caisse des écoles_.
 School Sanatoria, 254.
 Schools, _see_ School Children.
 Scorbutus, 304.
 Scotland, Report on Physical Training in, 98, 99.
 Sheffield School Board, 110.
 Shuttleworth, Dr. D. E., 108.
 Slavs in carpet factories, 178.
 Slavs in child labor, 212.
 Sloan, Mr., Supt. John Worthy School, Chicago, 184.
 Smedley, Professor, 100.
 Smith, Mrs. Watt, 304.
 Soap manufacture, dangers of, 176.
 Social Democratic Federation, 110.
 Socialism, 220, 221.
 Socialist control of French municipalities, 233.
 Socialist programmes, 221, 271, 276.
 Sophocles, quoted, 123.
 South Carolina, child labor in, 148, 149, 199.
 SOUTHERN STATES:
   Child labor in, 141, 148–151.
   Industrial revival in, 149.
 Speyer School, Columbia University, 116.
 State Charities Aid Association, 233.
 Steubenville, Ohio, 162.
 Still-births, 12, 51, 52, 53, 233.
 St. Helen’s, Lancashire, England, 235.
 ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI:
   Studies by Dr. Porter in, 98, 100.
   Underfed school children in, 89.
 Stockholm, physique of school children in, 96.
 Straus milk depots, see Milk.
 Straus, Nathan, 29, 234, 236.
 STREET TRADES:
   Legislation for, 258–259.
   Perils to children in, 184–188.
   Venereal diseases among children in, 184, 185.
 Sweat shops, 171.
 SWITZERLAND:
   _Alcoholzehntel_, 254.
   Country homes for school children in, 280.
   Holiday colonies for school children in, 254.
   Legislation upon employment of married women in, 45.
   Meals for school children in, 277.
   Medical inspection of school children in, 253–254.
   School Sanatoria in, 254.

                                   T
 Tavistock Place School, London, 111.
 Taylor, Jonathan, 110.
 Teachers College, Columbia University, 116.
 Teeth of school children, inspection of, 253, 255, 277.
 Ten Hours’ Bill, England, 137, 139.
 Tennyson, Alfred, quoted, 28.
 TEXTILE INDUSTRIES:
   Child labor in, 148–154.
   Dangers to health in, 177.
 Trachoma, 251.
 Trondhjem, Norway, 115, 275, 276.
 TUBERCULOSIS:
   Among bottle makers, 160.
   And poverty, 15.
   Campaign against, 30.
   Germany, treatment of children predisposed to, 255.
   Rachitis predisposing to, 17.
   Relation of child labor to, 146.
 Tuke, Dr. Hack, 108.
 Turin, Italy, 96, 109.

                                   U
 UNDERFEEDING:
   Among Italians, 78–81.
   Defective vision due to, 107.
   Due to ignorance, 27, 28, 29.
   Effects of, not hereditary, 294.
   Employment of mothers and, 35, 37.
   In Aberdeen, 272.
   In Birmingham, 113, 114, 272.
   In Boston, 85, 89.
   In Buffalo, 83–84.
   In Chicago, 84–85, 89, 273–274.
   In Cleveland, 85.
   In Dundee, 272.
   In Glasgow, 272.
   In London, 109, 272.
   In Los Angeles, 85.
   In New York, 61, 64, 83, 85, 109.
   In Philadelphia, 85.
   In United States, 61, 64, 85, 86, 117, 118.
   Mental effects of, 108–112, 276.
   Physical effects of, 95–105.
   Predisposing to disease, 26, 42, 296.
   Prime cause of infant mortality, 25.
   Proportion of hospital cases due to, 26, 27.
   Proportion of infant deaths due to, 14.
   Source of crime, 105–108.
   Worst effect of poverty upon children, 2–5, 27, 61–65.
 UNEMPLOYMENT:
   Among Irish laborers, 91.
   Among male wage-earners, 62.
 UNITED STATES:
   Child labor in, 140, 141, 167, 168.
   Infantile death-rate in, 11, 12, 13.
   Legislation regulating employment of married women needed, 45–49,
      227–233.
   Legislation regulating street trades required, 258–259.
   Number of children employed in, 142, 145.
   Still-births in, 52.
   Underfed children in, 61, 64, 85, 86, 117, 118.
   Value of glass manufactures, 154.
   Victims of poverty in, 61, 62.
 Utopia, 65, 239.

                                   V
 Van der Vaart, Mrs., 161.
 Varnishers, 178.
 Venereal diseases, 184.
 Vercelli (Italy), 248, 249, 274, 275, 287, 288–290.
 Vincent, Dr. Ralph M., 25, 235, 298, 304.

                                   W
 Wales, death-rate of, 10.
 Walling, William English, 169.
 Ward, Mrs. Humphry, quoted, 111.
 Warner, Dr. Francis, 108.
 Webster, Dr. J. Clarence, 300.
 Wellington, England, 50.
 West Virginia, 166.
 Wheeler, Miss M. (Supt. New York Babies’ Hospital), quoted, 27.
 Whooping-cough, 17.
 Wilcox, Ella Wheeler, 125.
 Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, 163.
 Wolf, Dr., 7.
 Wood-working, industries connected with, 168, 176.
 Workhouses, 131.

                                   Y
 Yonkers, New York, 178, 226.
 York, England, 98.

                                   Z
 Zanesville, Ohio, 160.
 Zark, N. V., 96.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 4. Superscripts are denoted by a caret before a single superscript
      character, e.g. M^r.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bitter Cry of the Children" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home