Copyright
Unknown.

Methods of social advance; short studies in social practice by various authors online

. (page 4 of 16)
Online LibraryUnknownMethods of social advance; short studies in social practice by various authors → online text (page 4 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


And we must remember we are in the infancy of our
knowledge of how to adequately help a consumptive case,
and so not be discouraged. In our failures we are still doing
much ultimate good; and e\ery family taught something of
the laws of hygiene means healthier descendants ; and the
health and power of resistance of the British race has a
great deal to do with our past, present, and, we hope, future
greatness.



38 METHODS OF SOCIAL ADVANCE



TYPE OF CASE CAEEIED OUT ON THE LINES
SUGGESTED ABOVE.

G. C., 36, labourer, attended St. George's Hospital in March
1901. He was then totally unfit for work. By the help, of
C.O.S. he was procured admission in Dr. Jane Walker's Cottage
Sanatorium at Clare, going there early in June. He was at this
time living in two stuffy ill-ventilated rooms, and his wife and
three children were all in ill-health, the baby particularly being
wizened and wasted. During the wait for his admission to Clare he
was frequently visited, and was enjoined to sit about in the Court-
yard or on the Thames Embankment, which was close. The value
of nourishing food, rest, and fresh air was explained to him. As
soon as he left home his wife was persuaded to attend the hospital,
and she and her baby soon began to show great improvement.
Next, the manager of the Dwellings was seen, and was induced to
give these people three better rooms. On the husband's return in
September, he thought it advisable to keep one room for himself,
so that he could continue to sleep with open windows. Light work
was given him by St. George's Vestry, in a fairly open space,
and he was seen regularly and told to come immediately to the
hospital if he felt the least falling back. At Christmas he fancied
it would be advisable to do still lighter work for a time, and
through the recommendation of the Physician this was given him.

He has steadily put on weight ever since, but he has always
carefully adhered to the doctrine of good air and good food. He
now, at the end of two years, looks the picture of health, and has
lately been asking for a certificate to say he is fit for ordinary
labouring work.

I consider the success of this case is due to the attention that
has been paid to small details, for after his return from the
Sanatorium he needed constant care and watching.

E. E. M.



39



IV
PHYSICAL EDUCATION

I MUST confess that when, some little time ago, I received a
letter from your Secretary requesting me to address the Council
of the Charity Organisation Society on the subject of Physical
Education, I found myself face to face with two puzzles.

Firstly, as to why the Charity Organisation Society should
be called upon to consider this question at all ; and secondly,
if good reason could be shown for its so doing, why myself
in particular should be selected as its exponent. A little
reflection showed me that, as the main object of the Society
is * the improvement of the condition of the poor,' there is in
this connection a wide and important field for its energies.
This field, it is true, covers the whole of the United Kingdom,
and the efforts of the Charity Organisation Society are limited
to the metropolitan area ; there is nothing, however, to forbid
it from within the boundaries of the metropolis setting a
beneficent example to the rest of the country.

In regard to the second of the puzzles to which I have
alluded namely, why you asked me to speak here to-day
I know that there are hundreds of men who are infinitely
more fitted by special knowledge by knowledge acquired
in a life-long devotion to this particular object, or by an
intimate acquaintance with the machinery by which alone
physical education can be developed ; for instance, the name of
Mr. Horsfall, of Macclesfield, at once occurred to me but Mr.



40 METHODS OF SOCIAL ADVANCE

Hor sf all is far off, and is, moreover, overwhelmed with the labours
involved by the great and important reforms to which he is
seeking to give practical effect in the northern districts. How-
ever, the Council of the Lads' Drill Association thought that
if the authorities of the Charity Organisation Society wished
me to address them, I ought to do so. Nevertheless I am
here to-day with very much the same feelings as must on
a certain occasion have swelled the bosom of a quondam
chaplain of a former Archbishop of Canterbury. That
prelate never sent out a letter or document unchecked or
uncriticised. One day he had been making a special literary
effort, and turning to his chaplain he handed him the
manuscript, remarking as he did so, ' I always like my
letters looked through, and it is a curious fact that I often
get the best suggestions from the stupidest people ; I wish
you would examine this letter and give me your opinion
on it.' Ladies and gentlemen, I must own that for the
present moment you stand for the reverend prelate, I for the
chaplain.

A dissertation of the kind I have undertaken must
naturally first take cognisance of the physical condition of
the youth of Great Britain. I will ask you, in limine, to
allow me to assume that it is an established truth that
physical is not less important than intellectual education
that, in short, a waked-up, active alert body, vigorous and
healthy and normally developed, is the necessary complement
of the trained and educated intellect which must be pos-
sessed by the modern citizen if our country is to maintain
its position in the Commonwealth of Nations, this being of
course the antithesis of the once popular creed that as with
horses, so with men, the real everyday work of the world is
done by the screws. This question of physical training is
then essentially a question of the hour ; yet, nevertheless, a
wide purview of the conditions of the problems connected
with it cannot but involve some retrospective inquiry, and
some attempt at comparison between the present condition



PHYSICAL EDUCATION 41

of our school children of to-day with those of past genera-
tions.

For some months past everywhere in the press, and
within the last few days in both Houses of Parliament, this
burning question has been asked, has been mooted and dis-
cussed Are the children of these islands degenerate ?

For a long time we have discomforted ourselves with the
belief that from an educational, intellectual, and perhaps
moral point of view we are, if not degenerate, then at any
rate in an unregenerate condition. Our golden youth has
been graduating in sports, and our people have not been
taught what it is vitally necessary for them to know. The
whole country has indeed been convulsed by our efforts to
remedy the defects in our educational machinery.

The Scotch Commission on Physical Training has clearly
established the principle that physical, moral, and intellectual
training must advance hand in hand ; and we have not been
without candid friends to tell us how far we have been
astray in these matters. Did not the late Mr. W. E. Glad-
stone not so very many years ago inform the world, premising
that he spoke as a pure Scotsman, that the English race is
a great factor in the world, but that no race stands in greater
need of discipline in every form, and among other forms that
which is administered by criticism vigorously directed to can-
vassing its character and claims ? He was good enough
to console us by stating his belief that under such discipline
the race is capable of a great elevation and of high per-
formances.

Did not the bearer of Mr. Gladstone's mantle state the
Scotch idea in more definite terms? It is scarcely three
years since Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, addressing the
Scotch people at Broughty Ferry in favour of educational
reform, asked his audience to compare the average German,
the average American, and the average Swiss with the average
Englishman. He also was careful, en parenthese, to invite his
listeners to comfort themselves with the feeling that at all



42 METHODS OF SOCIAL ADVANCE

events Scotsmen are better than Englishmen ; and having
made this reservation, so soon to be seriously questioned, he
boldly asserted that the average Englishman is far below the
Yankee, or the German, or the Swiss, or even the French-
man not in his character, not in the man himself, but in
the way his faculties had been educated, and the way he had
been trained to think and judge for himself. So much for our
candid friends at home; from abroad during the past four
years, from cauldrons seething with enmity, a stream of
molten and venomous depreciation has been poured on us,
and it is therefore with some anxiety that we come to ask,
What about the man himself ? the Englishman whom Sir
Henry Campbell-Bannerman is good enough to admit as being
in the matter of his manhood not much inferior to a Scotsman
is the Englishman physically degenerate? Aye, we will
carry the war into our critic's country and ask, Is the
Scotsman of to-day degenerate? On this day last week,
armed with facts and figures culled from the 638 pages of
evidence collected in the report of Lord Mansfield's Commis-
sion and with statistics available in England notably some
valuable information given by Mr. Horsfall Lord Meath and
the Bishop of Ripon asked this question of the Government.
Ministers could give no comprehensive reply ; they agreed to
consult the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, and appeared
to be disposed to appoint a Eoyal Commission to carry out
a programme of inquiry which they would look to these
learned bodies to suggest.

The Government is in fact committed to a physical
census of the people and the definition of a physical standard
with which comparison can be made ; hence a final report
cannot be looked for for many a long day, perhaps not for
years.

This is, of course, the epoch of inquiry by Governments,
of inquiry with limitations, but fortunately for the domestic
future of this country there is a great deal of effective local
government and of voluntary agency, and by the time a



PHYSICAL EDUCATION 43

Boyal Commission on Deterioration has prepared its report,
the common sense of the country will, it may be hoped, have
insisted on a complete and vigorous enforcement of the
recommendations of the Scotch Commission, and local bodies
will, I venture confidently to anticipate, have advanced con-
siderably on the road to reform.

Take, for instance, this vastly important matter which we
are now considering namely, the physical condition of the
children in the elementary schools ; the making of this
inquiry lies, and will lie, absolutely within the power of the
332 educational bodies already established in England, and
those which will shortly be created in the metropolitan area.
Lord Meath, as Chairman of the Lads' Drill Association, in
May last addressed the Chairmen of these bodies throughout
the country ; he forwarded them copies of the Scotch recom-
mendations, and amongst other points urged them to com-
mence at once a physical examination of all the children in
the elementary schools. There are a great many members
of the C.O.S. who could do not a little in support of this
necessary work. Lord Meath wrote :

It seems to my Association of the greatest importance that
reliable data in regard to the physical deterioration which there
seems every reason to believe is taking place amongst the children
of the poorer classes of the country should be systematically
collected with a view if possible to its arrest.

The foreshadowed granting of a Koyal Commission is a
practical admission on the part of the Government that a
primd facie case as to deterioration has been established.
The verdict of the Scotch Commissioners on this point was,
in a way, an open one, or perhaps, rather, it should be
described in regard to the whole of the charge as the Scotch
one of ' Not proven.' Their unanimous opinion was expressed
as follows :

We are not called upon to arrive at a decision as to whether
or not there exists a progressive deterioration of the slum popula-
tion of Great Britain or of the inhabitants of its large towns as a



44 METHODS OF SOCIAL ADVANCE

whole. We find evidence that, whatever may be the case with
the population as a whole, there exists in Scotland an undeni-
able degeneration of individuals of the classes where food and
environment are defective, which calls for attention and ameliora-
tion in obvious ways, one of which is a well-regulated system of
physical training.

I would strongly urge all those who are interested in the
welfare of the country, if they have not already done so, to
read some portions at any rate of the evidence recorded in
the 638 pages of the second volume of the Scotch Keport
this Eeport is a perfect mine of information. It is admirably
and copiously indexed, so that no time need be wasted in
putting one's finger on the special points on which informa-
tion is sought.

My own study of these volumes has convinced me that
the population under inquiry must not be taken as a whole ;
it must be resolved into its integral parts, and each of these
parts must be separately considered.

We have the upper and well-to-do classes, the middle
class, the class of well-to-do artisans, whose children enjoy
perhaps greater advantages in the way of education than any
other, and the poorer classes, including the sections of popu-
lation which furnish our Industrial and Eeformatory Schools
with their inmates. Any attempt to strike a general average
as to the advancement or otherwise of the nation as a whole
from the information which we at present possess in regard
to individual classes, and to present that average as a figure
of merit for the British people, must be strongly deprecated.
One point strikes a reader of the evidence particularly
namely, that nearly all those who dealt with the question of
deterioration authoritatively fell back on the Keports of the
Anthropometrical Committee of the British Association, made
in 1882-8. Many of these gentlemen produced special statis-
tics of their own compilation, yet all admitted that we have
no definite statistical facts, and that a national physical census
is absolutely necessary at any rate, as regards Scotland.



PHYSICAL EDUCATION 45

There was, however, a remarkable consensus of opinion that
amongst the well-to-do classes male and female, and espe-
cially in regard to the latter sex there has been, as the
result of wiser feeding, improved ventilation, and good physical
education, a well-marked physical advance. The average
public schoolboy, taking those of Marlborough and Kugby as
a sample, is at thirteen 2J inches taller and between five
and six pounds heavier than his predecessor of thirty years
ago; the stature of the whole race is stated on the authority of
the British Association to have increased by j of an inch
during one generation. But then, what class has contributed
the elevating increment, and how far down in the social scale
does this improvement extend ? this is the question which
remains unanswered. Taking up the other end of the social
scale, we are, as regards Scotland, met with a generally
expressed opinion that owing to the change that has ad-
mittedly been made in the food and diet of the people,
especially in the Highlands, from porridge and milk to tea
and slops, white bread and tinned meats, a general de-
generation either has or is taking place amongst those whom
we have hitherto regarded as perhaps the most stalwart of
the inhabitants of the British Isles. 1 The change of diet
is universally admitted ; its effects, however, are in certain
quarters questioned. Those in a position to observe state
that diseases of the digestive organs are very prevalent, that
the children have an anaemic, bloodless, ill-fed, and weakly
appearance.

1 On the same evening that this address was delivered at the Eoyal
United Service Institution (July 13), Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
asked in the House of Commons * what had given Scottish people such
an advantage over their Southron neighbours.' He had evidently for-
gotten his speech at Broughty Ferry, for he continued : ' Some people
said it was education not at all. It was the main staple of their food.
They had been brought up on oatmeal, and there was nothing more con-
ducive to the creation and maintenance of a stalwart and intelligent race
than the use of oatmeal.' Lord Mansfield's report will afford Sir Henry
some unpleasant reading and painful disillusionment. O. T. D.



46 METHODS OF SOCIAL ADVANCE

Mr. J. L. Kobertson, one of His Majesty's Inspectors of
Schools for the North of Scotland, states that in the Western
Highlands he does not see much deterioration as yet. Dr.
Bruce, one of the Highland Districts Medical Officers, who
especially comments on the amount of anaemia evident
amongst Highland children, and instances Lewis as a spot
where the children are very miserable physically, and where
the infant mortality is very great, nevertheless states that
when these children grow up to be men you could not find
stronger, healthier, more buirdly-like fellows, and declares that
he does not think there is any appreciable deterioration of the
general standard of the adult population. The assertion of
the depreciation physically of the Highland population rests
then on conjecture and not on measurement. It will be noted
that the word whiskey rarely occurs in this Scotch inquiry,
and yet we cannot believe that the people have given up
drinking it ; is it possible that in the balance of favour
between whiskey and tea some compensating element may
have been found which is benefiting the adult population ?
Leaving off, therefore, with the conviction that we do not quite
know all the facts of the case, though we are certain that,
whiskey or no whiskey, there has been a complete change in
the diet of the Scotch people, I would ask you in this connec-
tion to note the undoubted fact that in England, amongst the
well-to-do classes, which have admittedly improved physically,
porridge has been regularly adopted as an article of diet, not
only for children, but for adults. Now in South Africa, where
are found the splendid Bantu races, such as the Zulus, and
where the white child, whether of British or Dutch parentage,
almost invariably develops a fine physique, the universal food
for children is porridge, made as a rule from Indian corn ;
and as the Lord President of the Council states that the
Eoyal Commission is to inquire into the best means of
improving the national health and strength, I most sincerely
trust that it will be called upon to investigate the influence of
food generally, and of certain kinds of food in particular, on



PHYSICAL EDUCATION 47

the weight and stature and health of the people. The vast
importance of this point has been clearly established in Scot-
land, and a great deal may be learned in regard to it from
observations made on animals and insects. Lord Avebury,
from whom I inquired on this point, kindly wrote me : ' It is,
I believe, the case that by regulating the food ants and bees
materially modify the form, size, and instincts of the perfect
insect. I quite agree with you as to the great value of
porridge as food.' It has been repeatedly remarked by
expert witnesses that it is often not the actual want of
food but the wrong character of foods used that has wrought
such havoc amongst the children. In regard to Eng-
land and it must be noted that Ireland, which is believed
to be in a much worse condition than either England
or Scotland, though it has but few large towns, is not
included in any inquiry at present proceeding in regard
to England itself we have none of that systematic statistical
information which is available abroad, where conscription
brings every young man before the medical officer to be
measured and registered. It is but little consolation to our-
selves to know that such registration shows that in certain
urban districts in Germany, and in portions of France, sections
of the population are becoming as unfit for military and indus-
trial occupation as are certain sections in our own land ; the
figures that we have are, however, sufficiently disconcerting.

By the kindness of the First Lord of the Admiralty, the
Earl of Meath was able to produce in the House of Lords, on
Monday last, statistics in regard to boys for the Navy which
are of the greatest interest, and a consideration of what has
been ascertained will, I think, convince every impartial
citizen that, seeing Governments do things by inquiry, a
complete case for a physical inquest of the nation has been
made out ; but that citizen will, I think, also conclude that
'for himself the necessity for prompt and comprehensive
action without waiting for Government initiative has been
adequately brought home to us. It must not be thought by



48 METHODS OF SOCIAL ADVANCE

anyone that, because our only available figures are derived
from military and naval sources, this question in the first
instance concerns our armies and fleets. If a man is not
good enough to be a soldier, he is in fact, as a general principle,
with of course well-defined exceptions, a fortiori unfitted for
industrial competition. It is generally conceded that, whereas
science and preventive medicine have diminished the rate of
mortality amongst adults and increased the common duration
of life by, I think, four years for men and six for women
during the last fifty years the case of infants being excepted,
the mortality amongst them extending from one in two at
Liverpool to an average of rather less than one in five for the
whole country yet during this period of fifty years there has
amongst certain classes been a progressive diminution in
height, weight, health, and energy, and this depreciation has
probably proceeded on a ratio proportionate to the absorption
and depreciation of the rural population by the urban districts.
Using round numbers, one hundred years ago three-fourths
of the population were to be found in the country and only
one-fourth in the towns, which were of course then smaller
and airier. Now in England rather less than one-quarter of
the people live in the country, and rather more than three-
quarters are resident in the towns. These figures are good for
Scotland, with the omission of the qualifying words ' rather
more ' and ' rather less ' ; and this quarter of the population
represents undoubtedly the less energetic portion of the rural
classes. Now when about one-half of the people lived on the
land for in 1851 the town and country populations were
almost exactly even in numbers in 1845 the standard
height for admission into the army was 5 feet 6 inches ; in
1900 the standard was lowered to 5 feet, and in 1901
only four men in every ten attained to the minimum
standard of fifty years before. Further, there has been a
corresponding diminution in chest girth and weight. It is
true that for the whole country in 1901 the ratio of men
applying for military service rejected by the doctor was about



PHYSICAL EDUCATION 49

30 per cent., but this 30 per cent, does not include those who
were not brought forward by the recruiting sergeant. These
figures, however, do not reveal the appalling condition of the
manufacturing towns. Take Manchester, for which we have
definite figures. The average numbers applying to enlist in
1899, 1900, and 1901 were in round numbers about 12,000
per annum.

In 1899 28 per cent, were accepted, but of these only
9 per cent, were fit for the regular army ; in 1900 33 per
cent, were accepted ; in 1901 26 per cent, were taken, but for
these two last years I have not the figures as to how many of
those accepted were taken for the regular army and how many
for the Militia. Again, the publicly stated reports in regard to
Volunteering put the numbers physically rejected in Birming-
ham at 45 per cent. It is not surprising that under these
circumstances the Inspector-General of Recruiting reports in
1902 that the one object which causes anxiety as regards
recruiting is the gradual deterioration of the physique of the
working classes, from which the bulk of the recruits must
always be drawn.

There is, however, worse still to be told. Out of the
70 per cent, who are passed by the doctors from amongst
those who are brought forward by the recruiting sergeants,
General Sir Frederick Maurice asserts publicly, and he has
not been contradicted, that only two out of every five boys or
lads or men who are enlisted are found as effective soldiers in
the ranks after two years, and those who thus disappear are,
he declares, miserable anaemic specimens of humanity, fit to
do no proper man's work in any position in life. How
do these figures work out? Of the 70 per cent, who pass


1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryUnknownMethods of social advance; short studies in social practice by various authors → online text (page 4 of 16)