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Miss Dendy, a well-known member of the education committee in that city, maintains that 15 per cent have insufficient meals as well as unsuitable ones.
Mr. J. B. Atkins, London editor of "The Manchester Guardian," in his evidence, handed in figures to show that "a constantly growing disparity is observable after the age of eight, between the scholars in the squalid surroundings and those in the better quarters. Again:
Even the most favored boy of the good neighborhood is slightly shorter and some pounds lighter than the British Association's normal boy of the working class of the same age; he is three-quarters of an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter than the average schoolboy in Boston, U. S. A.
In Halifax, Yorkshire, the measurements are scarcely better. In Rochdale, Lancashire, they are worse, as there three boys are only equal to two boys in the great public school of Rugby. The medical officer for Manchester, Dr. James Niven, gave as the second cause for a high death-rate the inadequate diet in a large proportion of the poorer families. When asked if inadequate earnings on the part of the parents would justify the local education authorities in feeding the children, he answered emphatically that there were large numbers of underfed children who must be fed at any cost.
An examination of schools in the Manchester area by a medical officer of the board of education showed that in a board school, well built and equipped, 66 per cent of the children were below the normal physical standard an improvement on the London figures, but no matter for congratulation. In a Church of England school, Saint James the Less, the children in the lower grades were in a very bad condition, but an improvement was noted in the higher ones. In a Wesleyan school, 62 per cent of the infants and 40 per cent in the lower three grades were below the normal; but in the highest grade only 14 per cent were below the normal. In the adjoining Catholic school, the inspector says:
I was astonished at the excellent physical condition of these children, especially as the neighborhood had been given to me as the very worst in Salford. Only 15 per cent of the infants were below normal, 10 per cent in the lower three standards, and not more than 3 per cent in the upper three standards-which shows how well cared for this Irish population is.
As an Irish Catholic myself, I attribute this result to the same cause as I do many similar instances in Liverpool, namely, to the fact that the Irish mother, especially the Irish-born woman, scouts artificial aids and feeds her baby as nature intended she should. I was shocked, however,
when reading the dreadful evidence of deterioration in Ireland, to find the Bishop of Ross asserting that natural feeding was on the decrease in his diocese, South Cork.
The medical officer to the Local Government Board of Scotland said that in the slums of Edinburgh a large proportion of children were half starved, and that it was the height of cruelty to subject such children to school routine. The Scottish Commission on Physical Training said in its report: "There exists in Scotland an undeniable degeneration of individuals of the classes where food and environment are defective." Dr. Neston, from the great seaport on the Tyne, Newcastle, said in his evidence:
There is undoubtedly great deterioration in the physique of the population, owing to two chief causes: first, a decadence in home life, which entails improper food and clothing, irregular habits; secondly, miserable houses, high rents, and overcrowding.
The whole matter, therefore, under present conditions, centres around the question of school feeding as part of the school work. I can testify to the wonderful change in the physique of the children - 1,200 in number in the day industrial schools in Liverpool. In swimming competitions they have beaten every school in the city time and again, while in cricket, football, and other outdoor games they have been most successful. They all belong to the lowest strata of society and all live in slumdom. Fed three times a day by the late school board and now by the Liverpool city council, they manifest the benefits of good food regularly supplied.
Concerning the Manchester schools of the same type, it was stated by a witness that of the children who were physically unable to go through a course of drill on entry, only 2 per cent remained unfit after a few weeks' feeding. It was also declared that one could easily pick out the industrial school boy in the ordinary school after his discharge.
The remarkable feature about the Liverpool children is that, despite the fact that they return at 6 P.M. to their wretched homes, they all escaped being afflicted by recent epidemics of zymotic diseases, which was not always the case with other members of the family who were attending ordinary schools and were not fed. To me it is incredible that these children are made strong and healthy, while the girls in a London school for want of food are unable, to the tune of 80 per cent, to take part in a new scheme of drill, which had, perforce, to be abandoned. Ample evidence was produced by heads of schools that the mental pow
ers of the children were enfeebled by want of food; and the whole situation was summed up by Sir Lauder Brunton when he said, in answer to an economic objection, that " there is no more danger in feeding children physically than there is in feeding them mentally." A great evil has to be met and at once, pending the day when royal commissions and departmental committees are formed to inquire into the bed-rock causes of these evils, and not their results. No uniform method of procedure is suggested in the report; but each local authority, once the question is taken up in earnest, will probably work on lines suited to its locality, taking care to avoid demoralization as much as possible.
The Paris system affords a working basis. Free meals are given to every child, whether the parents are on the books of the "Bureaux de Bienfaisance" or not. Meals are served on the presentation of a token which can be bought and given gratuitously to the child, a system which enables parents who are fairly well off to secure nutritious meals at a small cost. Secrecy is observed as to whether the token was bought or received free. In the year 1897 the municipality of Paris paid for 67.84 per cent of the meals provided, which shows a fair average of payments by the parents. This method is practically that which a committee of the London School Board recommended in 1898, minus the all-important suggestion that when the board's officers report that the underfed condition of a child is due to the culpable neglect of a parent, the board should have power to prosecute.
The committee were much impressed by the large share borne by excessive drinking in producing and perpetuating degeneracy, and suggest educating the people through the schools on the evil effects of alcohol. At the same time, unlike most so-called temperance reformers, they do not hide from themselves the main causes of drunkenness among the laboring population. Dr. Niven's view that people who have not food enough turn to drink to satisfy their cravings and the mass of evidence as to the bad housing and overcrowding of the people being also responsible for alcoholic excess was generally accepted. In the report, this definite statement is made and signed by every member:
Every step gained toward the solution of the housing problem is something won for sobriety. Direct proof was forthcoming of men who had been addicted to alcohol, passing into better surroundings and changing their habits.
Two years ago "The Liverpool Daily Post," one of the foremost Liberal organs outside London, in reviewing somewhat flatteringly a former contribution of mine to THE FORUM on a kindred subject, said I was
writing "claptrap" in suggesting landlordism as the enemy of good housing. I had been suggesting the taxation of ground values as the only remedy. In that very report, Mr. Charles Booth, whose authority cannot be questioned, actually suggests to the committee that the report in favor of taxing land values signed by the minority, which included leading Conservative statesmen and one member of the Government, was his proposal for solving the housing problem. In this place, I may say that a bill with this object passed its second reading during the last session of Parliament. Mr. G. H. Fosbrooke, medical officer for fourteen years to the agricultural county of Worcester, and for thirtyone years medical officer of small urban and rural districts in the same county, gave evidence proving my assertion of two years ago in these pages. He declared that, in his district, the physique of the agricultural laborer had deteriorated; and he went on to say that some of the houses were really unfit for habitation; that, in fact, he could name one district where a whole series of houses had been closed because the landlord ground landlord would not do anything; and these formed part of a large estate. Mr. Arthur Lyttleton said the same: "The people cannot get cottages; they leave the country because they cannot get cottages."
The committee make several recommendations to meet the causes of rural exodus, one being to force the rural authorities to adopt the drastic powers in Part III of the Housing Act. Then the landlord will come into prominence, as London, Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow can testify.
England is undergoing a reaction from the wild Imperialism of the past ten years. Sober-minded men are thinking out the social problems dealt with in this admirable report; and if the change of Government, which, at this writing, seems inevitable results in this committee's principal recommendations becoming the law of the land, the new Liberal ministry will live long in the memory of Englishmen. But then there is Rosebery. THOMAS BURKE.
GERMAN AND AMERICAN FORESTRY METHODS.
As a rule, the American people have as yet but a very indefinite idea of what forestry really means. If the average American citizen should be asked what he understands by it, he would probably say that forestry meant the protection of timber and the prevention of further devastation of the woods, while others would express some sentimental idea relating to the protection of wild animals, game, etc., and others again would look upon the matter from the standpoint of the regulation of the water supply. In truth, however, forestry is an entirely different thing, namely, a business, pure and simple, based on certain fixed scientific principles.
From the business standpoint, the forestry exhibit of the World's Fair, in St. Louis, and, particularly, Germany's splendid exhibition in the Palace of Forestry, Fish, and Game, has been a revelation to the American visitor. Of course, our foresters have not needed the lesson, as the United States Bureau of Forestry, the Forestry Commissions of some of our States, and our schools of forestry have been endeavoring, for many years, to teach their fellow-countrymen what ought to be done. Of these the United States Bureau of Forestry in particular is able to give a very good account of itself and to prove that, in every respect, it has been keeping abreast of the times. Nevertheless, it has been impossible for it to prove by figures that, in reality, forestry is not only a business, but a paying one, as only a country with a forestry administration of long standing is in a position to do this. Germany, or rather Prussia, has willingly consented to show us what she has been and is now doing in the way of cultivating her forests, from which she is deriving a large revenue.
Forestry invariably sets in whenever the danger of complete exhaustion of the timber supply arises. But too often the right moment to check the wanton destruction is missed; and when a country has been entirely denuded, when regularly recurring inundations are destroying farms, cattle, and crops, and large sums of money are annually paid to foreign countries for timber which could and should have been pro