Copyright
Edward Everett Hale.

We, the people : a series of papers on topics of to-day online

. (page 7 of 15)
Online LibraryEdward Everett HaleWe, the people : a series of papers on topics of to-day → online text (page 7 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


three or four miles from the "centre," which
meant from the meeting-house. He said that
crime, as the law got hold of it and as the prison
received the criminal, was more often bred in
places which got the name of "Hell Corner" or
the "Devil's Home" than it was in the villages.
He reminded us of the outcasts, like so many
Samaritans described in Judd's novel of
"Margaret," then fresh in people's attention.
And he said that we were all in danger of letting
this class of people and their children and their
children's children drift off into a lawless and
godless set of pariahs who would furnish the
criminal classes what Charles Booth has since
called the Class A of his social order.

The truth was that in those years of the fifties
we were beginning to learn in Massachusetts
what was the first-fruit of the much over-praised
amendment of 1833, which made the support of
the ministry of the State absolutely voluntary.
Till that time every taxpayer in the State and
this meant every man or woman more than eigh-
teen years old paid his share of the annual sal-
ary of the minister of the town. He had a right
which even a Philistine could measure to the
time, the service and care of one or another of
the ministers of the town. They knew this, and
he knew it. And any one of the old diaries of

[II?]



WE, THE PEOPLE"



those earlier days which records the doings of
one of the old ministers will show that they spent
more time in their rounds in "Hell Corner" and
in the "Devil's Den" than they did in the con-
venient neighborly calls on Hon. George Cham-
pernoon or the Widow Mary Wortley, who
lived in the houses round the Common. This
duty of the minister imposed by statute and by
honor had ceased to be such a duty when Bur-
ton was chaplain ; and he began to see the conse-
quences.

It would be very hard to say to-day that the
first duty of a minister in an active town is to go
out four miles from his church and see to the
moral or intellectual or physical need of a family
of Swedes or Bulgarians or other Arabs which
has taken up an abandoned form in the "gore"
between one township and another. Life has
too many central duties near the post-office and
the factory for us to throw the oversight of
such people upon the minister of the first church
or the second church or the new church. All
the same, the Swede or the Bulgarian or the Hill
Cornerite of any other nationality is a son of God
or a daughter of God. All the same, they are
brothers and sisters of the rest of us, and we as-
sert this every time when we affect to be Christian
men and women. And one asks with a certain
[118]



THE NEW CENTURY



curiosity, What is the best way "to get at them,"
and to open up to them a measure of the light
and life of the new century equal to that which is
enjoyed where people live in apartment houses
or tenement houses or other man-made prisons
in crowded towns? And it is observable by all
people not wholly blind or deaf that, quite out-
side Assyrian or Hebrew Scriptures, there is
ample evidence that the Lord God began his
business in this world, so far as men are con-
cerned in the world, by planting a garden.

Thus simply did early literature express the
central truth that the Hell Cornerite, in his squat-
ter's farm of five acres be the same more or less
has certain spiritual advantages which Ma-
dame Champernoon, in the felicities of a flat
heated by steam and defiled by soot, cannot share.
And we ask ourselves, with a certain curiosity,
what must become of a boy or girl growing up
in the midst of the homes of bluebirds and orioles
and chickadees, who know the voice of a brook
or the private life of a squirrel? Is there any
such curse on modern civilization that this boy
or girl is compelled to live in ignorance of music,
art, and literature, and even religion?

It is true that pagan languages and pagan peo-
ple speak as if such joys belong to cities or po-
Lteness. But that is only the language of pagans,

["9]



, THE PEOPLE"



of people who live in towns. Surveying our
own country, from Tiajuana across to Fort Fair
field, it would seem as if some of the frontiers-
men, with an occasional visit from a Methodist
missionary or a library agent of the Sunday-
School Union, have a better chance than the
New Englander in some corner Sodom or Go-
morrah of the Old Bay State. And I have
never been more encouraged than when an ac-
complished scholar told me the other day that
for himself he did not mean to "settle," as the
unhappy phrase puts it, in any crowded parish.
For his parish he had chosen half a State, and
for his pulpit he should take a wagon with a
horse who was not afraid of up hill and down
dale. He thought that, if he stopped over night
in some household where there were half a
dozen children, or if he held a meeting some
Thursday afternoon in an old schoolhouse which
the town had abandoned, he might get into such
touch with the people of Sodom or Hell Corner
as we gentlemen who are studying about the
Carpocratian Heresy in the fifth story of the
Arbella Hotel might never meet.

When some Brainerd shall fit out such a
wagon, and harness the horse which belongs to
it, and find his way from one "gore" to another,
speaking in every language to the Parthians and

[ 120]



THE NEW CENTURY



Mesopotamians who have made their homes
there, we shall hear gradually less and less of
the infamies of the hill towns or of the crimes of
Hell Corner. Such missions are, perhaps, not
for large missionary societies; but they are mis-
sions which godly men and godly women could
undertake in a summer vacation. Indeed, they
need no other commission for such enterprises
but that which the Saviour gave them in His last
interview with His disciples.

CHARITY CORPORATIONS.

THE State Board of Charities of Massa-
chusetts has just printed a very curious
pamphlet, which contains the reports
of four hundred and twenty-one char-
itable societies which owe their corporate exist-
ence to the State.

The fact that these are charitable societies
enables them to live along without paying taxes
on the personal property which they use in their
affairs. And yet, with the happy-go-lucky indif-
ference to statistics which is deeply ingrained in
what are called the Anglo-Saxon races, it is only
lately that these societies have been told to send
any reports to the government to which they owe
their life. Philanthropists have a bad reputation,
which they do not deserve, of being unbusiness-

[121]



, THE PEOPLE"



like. There is just foundation enough for error
here in the fact that there are some moony sec-
retaries, and a few moony treasurers. Twenty-
two of four hundred and forty-three corpora-
tions made no report last year after the new stat-
ute had told them they must. But three hun-
dred and sixty-five have made reports now which
are fairly accurate and complete.

I am afraid that most people here will be sur-
prised when they know that in the State of Mas-
sachusetts, with a population of 2,805,346, in the
year 1900, at the end of the year 1901, 325,496
people were "beneficiaries" of 291 corporations.
But this surprise should be mitigated by the inti-
mation that many of these beneficiaries are count-
ed a great many times in this total. For instance,
an out-of-door hospital patient or a "dispensary"
patient would be counted every time he applied
for relief, and the total is swelled just so far as
he makes frequent applications. In some cases
the beneficiaries do not reside in the State, but
these must be an insignificant number compared
with those who do. The reader will observe
that there are one hundred and fifty-two more
charitable corporations which do not give any
report of the number of beneficiaries. Now, the
whole population is a little more than three
millions. My own theory in life is that every
[122]



THE NEW CENTURY



one of us is a beneficiary of everybody else. If
this is so, the particular figure of 325,496 is
rather a matter of curiosity. But it is interest-
ing as showing how wide is the range in which
philanthropy is admitted to do its duty in Mas-
sachusetts.

One of our thoroughly sensible and thorough-
ly liberal Boston merchants made a will, some
twenty years ago, in which he left a very large
sum of money to be distributed in charities by
his executors. He affixed two conditions to the
gifts to charitable societies, i. The executors
were to give nothing to societies whose officers
earned their living by carrying on its enterprises.
2. No money was to be given to societies which
made more paupers than they relieved. There
was something which seemed a little cynical in
the latter provision, but it is not unnecessary.
Dr. Chalmers is on record as having said that,
when you have a philanthropic association well
at work, the best thing you can do is to destroy
it and begin all over again. And one sometimes
groans in spirit when he finds that a set of jots
and tittles have been crowded in upon the origi-
nal purpose of a charitable foundation, showing
that there are excellent formal reasons why it
should not do the thing that it was meant to do;
as when the society for providing wooden legs

[



, THE PEOPLE"



can pay no money for a cork leg or vice versa.
Because such provisions as these seem necessary
sometimes, one examines such a report as the
State has now published with a good deal of
interest.*

It seems to me that this report is, on the whole,
satisfactory. That is to say, it shows a very
large amount of genuine and generous public
work which thousands and thousands of quiet
people are carrying forward from no motive at
all but that of helping those who are in need.
Take, for instance, such a report as this: "Im-
migrants' Home. To protect young and friend-
less girls arriving on the Cunard and Dominion
Lines." Here are eight hundred girls cared
for by the kindness and thought of a few public-
spirited women, no one of whom is paid a cent,
who saw the necessity of some organized care
which could not be attended to by any individual
effort.

The charge is sometimes made with regard to
a particular locality that it is "over-charitied."
I have myself known occasions where this charge
was true, but the danger is much more apt to be
the other way. "As it seems to me," the real
danger comes from red tape. The worship of

*The American Bible Society thinks itself "bound" not
to print the best English version of the Bible!

["4]



THE NEW CENTURY



statistics, the desire to have So-and-so appear
well on the annual report, brings in the greatest
temptation. You establish a home for old
women. You establish it because old women
are apt to be a little fussy, and there are especial
difficulties in the care of them. Then, after five
years, you go to your Home to inquire if there
is a place for Mrs. A. or Mrs. B., to find that
the rules of the society are such that, unless Mrs.
A. or Mrs. B. are agreeable people, whose soci-
ety will be pleasant to the manager and inmates
of the Home, they cannot be received. You
turn away, and you say that that town is over-
charitied; but it is not over-charitied. All that
has happened is that a little bit of red tape has
worked into the machinery, and the results are
not all that could have been expected.

The State Board of Charities has assumed a
very important duty, which ought to have been
attended to long before, in collecting these re-
ports. For a beginning the work has been very
well done, and the public is very much indebted
to somebody who did it. The Board of Chari-
ties will be entirely supported if it will carry the
enterprise further by investigating properly any
one of these private organizations with regard to
which any complaint is made, in proper form.
The organizations are all creatures of the State,

[125]



, THE PEOPLE"



and, in general, their officers remember that they
are. Every charitable organization which has
a right to existence ought to admit of the widest
publicity in its affairs, showing that the rights of
individuals are not sacrificed. The publication
of this report takes away the last objection which
can be made to the exemption of the personal
property of such institutions from taxation.

People should be encouraged in rendering
service to the State. For there is no danger
that people will be too unselfish. If a man wants
to put up a statue, let him put it up, and do not
tax the statue when it is up. If people want to
worship God in some new fashion, let them wor-
ship Him. Do not be particular in inquiring
whether they worship three persons in one God
or whether they worship one person in one God.
But this does not mean that people may save a
piece of property for twenty or thirty years, and
nurse it along without paying any taxes for it,
under the pretence that they are maintaining
religious institutions there, and then sell this real
estate as a matter of speculation. If the State
exempts them from pecuniary taxation, it does
so under the supposition that they are rendering
a difficult service or a larger service to the State
in some other way. The same rule is to be ap-
plied to every charitable organization.
[126]



THE NEW CENTURY



INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION.

MORE than a generation of men has
passed since the thoughtful attention
of people in this country was turned
to the necessity of using the public
school system for the training of the hands of
boys and girls, as well as the training of their
brains.

In Boston, where these words are printed,
some successful effort was made more than half
a century ago to introduce sewing in the regular
curriculum of the girls' schools. The profes-
sional schoolmasters disliked it, and did their best
to discountenance the plan. But it was too sen-
sible to be thrown overboard, and in the Boston
"grammar schools" there is now quite an effi-
cient system for teaching girls to sew. A half-
hearted and partial system was introduced, after
some years, by which such boys as chose could
learn to use the hand-saw or the hammer. But the
seventy head-masters in general frowned upon
this ; the schoolhouses were not built for any such
system, and in practice it now amounts to very
little. The best result of any effort in Boston
for what is called industrial education may be
seen in what is called the Public School for
[ 127]



, THE PEOPLE"



the Mechanic Arts, an institution admirably
equipped and well maintained.

The credit for the earliest work in establish-
ing such institutions in Boston is to be given in
the first instance to Samuel P. Ruggles, the in-
ventor of the Ruggles printing press; to Dr.
Cyrus A. Bartol, and to Rev. George L. Chancy.
It is, indeed, interesting and pathetic to recollect
that Mr. Ruggles offered to give the city a
machine shop equipped with everything neces-
sary for a school of machinists, and that the
aldermen of that day declined the offer!

In Chicago, an admirable movement, well
endowed and well maintained by the great Com-
mercial Club of Chicago, taught us all a very
valuable lesson. A large and well-appointed
school was established for boys and young men,
in which half the school time was given to train-
ing the hand to the study of drawing, and to the
use of tools. It wa's thought, and it proves, that
the habit of observation thus developed is an
important help on the literary side. I may say
that for education itself, which is so much more
than instruction, the accuracy required in all
good handiwork helps in the training for perfec-
tion of man's moral nature. So, as far as I
know, there is no better illustration of this happy
combination of literary education with what is
[128]



THE NEW CENTURY



called industrial education than can be seen in
the great schools of the Hampton Institute. I
have seen many successful enterprises of the same
sort in the middle and western States, notably
the industrial school at Lafayette, Indiana, and
the machine shops of Cornell University.

The late Mr. Auchmuty, a philanthropist in
the city of New York, established the largest
and most comprehensive institution for the train-
ing of workmen which we have seen in America.
I think there is nothing like it in Europe. It
is, I believe, open only in the evening. It has
been maintained since the death of the founder
by the interest of a fund which he left for the
purpose. The several classes are intended chief-
ly for young men who are engaged in other pur-
suits in the day time, and come to learn their
trades in the evening.

There are classes in carpentry, in plumbing,
in bricklaying, in plastering "and stucco-work, in
painting, in carving. The pupils pay for their
instruction, and the fund is charged with only
what may be called the general expenses of the
institution.

All such enterprises, in which the unskilled
laborer is promoted into a skilled workman, may
be classified as belonging to the American system
of manual instruction.

[ 129]



'WE, THE PEOPLE*



There is no lack of industrial schools on the
continent of Europe. But I have met with
hardly any report I do not remember any of
efforts to teach pupils how to use their hands,
excepting in "institutions," so called, of punish-
ment or of charity. The industrial school of the
continent of Europe is rather a school for the
education of managers or foremen for the indus-
tries. It is taken for granted that what is left of
the apprentice system, or some substitute for it,
in the workshops will give to the artisan who
has to use his hands all the training which he
will require until he can train himself.

Simply these industrial schools are intended
to train the middle men in manufacturing and
engineering the men who are to direct the
workmen, so called, or the laborers. It is not
popular education in any fair sense. It is the
education of squires, who may be knights or
noblemen. It is in no sense the education of
the people.



There is unfortunately a tendency among
those who teach, not unnatural, indeed, to adopt
such feudal systems, which are, indeed, European
systems, in American institutions for technical
education. I might say this, indeed, of all insti-
tutions for higher training. That wise leader in

[ 130]



THE NEW CENTURY



education, Dr. James Walker, said to me forty
years ago that the most difficult thing in the
management of a college was to persuade, or in
any way compel, the professors of most experi-
ence or wisdom to take the charge of freshmen.
He said that the usual complaint was well found-
ed, which says that the freshmen, the newcomers,
are generally assigned to tutors who are them-
selves inexperienced in their business. I think
most college professors would tell me that the
occupation most disliked is the reading, criticiz-
ing and correcting of themes or compositions in
whatever form. It is undoubtedly more agree-
able to conduct classes of young people who
know something, and have been already dragged
through the elementary stages by somebody.

Here are two causes, each of them carrying
a good deal of force, which tend to the injury
of the technical schools of this country. Our
large business here is with the training of the
sovereign, that is, of the people. We can trust
the "foreman," "manager," and other directors
to train themselves to the business of managing,
if only they know themselves* how to do what
they will have to order done by their subordi-
nates. If we have a nation of well-trained arti-
sans there is no danger but we shall have enough
of them fit to lead the others when the time

[131]



, THE PEOPLE"



comes. The late Mr. Roberts, the admirable
president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was
fond of saying that the first step in his "pro-
motion" was taken the day when he was in the
boiler of a locomotive, pounding skilfully on a
refractory rivet. He could not have done this
but that he had been trained in the admirable
school for apprentices of the road, where young
men are taken through all the several duties of
the several shops.

On the other hand, I have, not long since,
addressed an agricultural and mechanical school
at work under the National Land Grant, where
only two young men were to spend the summer
in farm work; and both of these were Japanese
students. I doubt whether there is a hammer
or a screw-driver left of the apparatus for the
mechanic arts which was once in use by the Tech-
nological Institute in Boston.

The directors of some of the trade unions
pursue a false policy, which if adopted more
generally would prove disastrous. They dis-
courage trade schools, with the short-sighted wish
of keeping their profession conveniently small.
Most of them have been trained in Europe, and
by some short-sighted impolicy by which they
would be very glad to slam the door in the face
of those who follow them, they are tempted to

[ 132]



THE NEW CENTURY



shut out boys who want training in the arts which
these directors themselves possess.

All which is an effort in face of the American
purpose, a purpose which has carried with it suc-
cess indescribable. That purpose requires the
best and most practical education for everybody
everywhere.

OLD AGE PENSIONS.

MR. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN has
been called the Alva of the nine-
teenth century. This means that
he will always be held responsible
for the cruelties of the English administration of
South Africa, as Alva is held responsible in his-
tory for the cruelties which the Spanish kings
inflicted on the Dutch ancestors of the Burghers.
Mr. Chamberlain is now going to South
Africa, it is said on an errand of love. It is to
be hoped that he may present himself in history
as a converted Alva.

This thing ought to be said for him, that he
has held loyally to the proposal for taking care
of old men and old women who are in need. He
proposes methods more decent, not to say more
Christian, than the Poor Laws of England as
now administered provide.

[ 133 ]



VE, THE PEOPLE"



When you speak to anybody of "Old Age
Pension," if he knows anything about it, he goes
back to Joseph Chamberlain's loyal adhesion to
this cause for many years past. But when Amer-
icans, who are used to taking short cuts across
pastures, examine the English plans, they seem
terribly intricate.

Indeed, you are apt to lay the thing down
and say this may do for a tight little island
where you can throw an apple from one end of
it to the other, but it will never do for us.

That is true enough, but, all the same, we are
a humane people, we are a people respectful to
the aged, and we must work out our own system
of taking care of them.

Mr. Demarest Lloyd, to whom we owe so
much, has put on paper for us the arrangements
of New Zealand in this affair. They are much
better than the English arrangements, they are
much better than our arrangements, so they are
much better than Mr. Chamberlain's plans pro-
pose. But the New Zealand arrangements are
not American arrangements.

Indeed, it is quite probable that each of the
forty-five States of America will make its own
plans. That is one of the merits of our system,
that we do not have to receive cut-and-dried
stereotyped plans from any central headquarters.

[134]



THE NEW CENTURY



The trouble with Mr. Chamberlain's plans is
that they involve that distinction which all
feudal nations enjoy so much between the highest
class and lowest class, and the upper middle class
and the lower middle class, and the middle lower
class and the lower higher class, and the higher
lower class and the middle middle class.

This sort of distinction makes an American
very sick when he reads about it, and no wonder.
In any arrangements which we make here, it
nust be understood that we belong to one class,
and that a very high class.

It is the class of the living children of the
living God. We observe that this living God
takes care of the upper middle class in just the
same way in which He takes care of the lower
middle class, and we do not propose to discrim-
inate any more than He does.

To any one to whom He gives water and sun-
light and His Holy Spirit, we propose to give
an old-age pension.

It is not long since I was making a speech
before a set of life-insurance men. That means
a very intelligent sort of people. I told them,
to their surprise I think, that every man in Mas-
sachusetts who had lived in Massachusetts since
he was eighteen years of age, and who had lived
to the age of seventy, had earned his old-age
pension. [ J35 1



'WE, THE PEOPLE*



When they took out their pencils and made


1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryEdward Everett HaleWe, the people : a series of papers on topics of to-day → online text (page 7 of 15)