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When a child not charged with crime is brought before such an officer and is shown to be abused or abandoned, what should be done with him and with the parent? The latter should be required to support the child, so far as the law can make him responsible. The like is required of 5 persons classed as disorderly by Section 901 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and under the education acts is also required of parents who fail to send their children to school. How to reach the parent is a question for the criminal law, with which we are not dealing at present. But for the child, 10 what should be done with him? Most certainly he should be placed in a healthy and sufficient home and taught the rudiments of knowledge and honest ways. Here the state should seek the aid of private charity, acting through incorporated institutions, because the state can in this way best 15 control the institutions, and look after the treatment and welfare of the children. These agencies are sufficient for the present and may be sufficient always. Show the people the way in which they can best help the outcast, and their benevolence will supply the motive.
If these views are sound, they lead logically to the following conclusions:
I. That there should be a public guardian of homeless children under twelve years of age, whose duty it should be to find out the condition and treatment of those brought 25 before him, and when he sees that they require it, to place them in some institution incorporated for the care of such children, to be kept there or sent by them to homes here or in other states. In the category of homeless children may be included not only orphans without homes, but all children 30 under twelve years of age who are abandoned by their parents or so neglected or abused as to require that they should be taken in charge.
II. That every police officer should be required and every citizen should be permitted to bring a homeless child 35 before this guardian.
III. That a child under seven years of age under any circumstances be treated as a criminal, and a child between seven and twelve should not be so treated until he has been examined by the guardian and by him 5 sent to the criminal magistrate. No child under twelve should ever be left in the society of criminals under any circumstances whatever.
This paper has already reached the limit intended. It has not gone into particulars: on the contrary, it has been 10 carefully confined to certain general propositions. Their development and execution are matters of detail. The aim of the article is attained, if it has helped to impress upon the reader this lesson, partly social and partly political: Take care of the children and the men and women will take 15 care of themselves.
Address at a Meeting in Behalf of the Children's Aid
Philadelphia, Pa., January 30, 1892.
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN: To anyone who has had the privilege for many happy years, although it were many years ago, of watching the spontaneous and delightful generosity of the citizens of Philadelphia, it is indeed a great 20 delight to come back and recognize that which he knew well enough to be the fact, that in the years that have come between that great, rich stream of benevolence and everthoughtful generosity has been widening and deepening. It is just exactly as when one comes back, having made a
1 Reprinted, by permission of E. P. Dutton & Co., from Essays and Addresses, Phillips Brooks,
journey across lots, and finds again a great stream by whose side he has journeyed before, in whose company he has rejoiced, and sees how it has grown richer and deeper in the courses in which he has been separated from it.
You told us, sir, at the beginning of this meeting, of the two purposes of such a meeting as this. One of them is the gathering up of the report of what has been accomplished by such a society as this, and the distinct recognition, by those who have not had the opportunity of knowing much about it before, of what the methods of its working are. The first 10 purpose of such a meeting is information. I cannot help thinking we have been richly supplied with information here this evening. We have seen what this society does; that its work is a simple work. It is an effort everywhere to reinstate into the system of our human life that little atom which 15 has been in any way separated from it. Nothing lives except in the system to which it belongs. Nothing lives except it is natural. Nothing is natural absolutely by itself. Nothing is natural except it be taken into the system of nature in which it naturally inheres and follows the movement of the whole 20 about it. And so the whole meaning of our society is that any little atom of our humanity which has been cast out of the rich and ever-swelling system of our human life shall be just as far and just as quickly as possible reinstated where it belongs. Everything we have heard from the good doctor, who let us 25 look into the deep and awful secrets which belong to the life of this society, from its managers, from its treasurer, everything we have heard shows us that perpetual effort of good women and true men to reinstate into its true place the atom of our human life which has been separated from the con- 30 dition and position in which it belongs.
The second object of such a meeting as this was to stir enthusiasm, so you told us. In other words, it is to see the richness and the beauty and the glory of that which we are doing. We lose ourselves in the midst of multitudinous details. We 35 lose ourselves in those things which are absolutely essential,
and those things without which life in a society such as this cannot possibly exist, but which, when we have buried ourselves in the midst of them, too often obscure the very rich meaning which belongs to the whole. We want to feel the 5 glory of such a work as this which this society is doing. It seems to me also that we want to do that which I always feel impelled to do when I have the privilege of saying a word or two at the close of a meeting such as this. I want to give the thanks of this community, and the thanks of all that this com10 munity represents, for it is impossible in the rich communication of life in which we live with one another to separate ourselves into communities and think anything can be done in Philadelphia for which Massachusetts and Illinois and Georgia are not the richer. We want to recognize the thankfulness which every part of our country owes to those willing to step forward in this work. Truly it is very little you and I can do, to come here on a pleasant evening for an hour or two and praise and rejoice in the work that has been done, and make our contributions to the continuance of that work, 20 when we think what it is they are doing who have summoned us here. They have gone forward. They have taken the brunt of the labor. They have given anxious care, they have given perpetual devotion to this work to which we now say Godspeed, and to which in the proper time I am sure you 25 will not refuse your abundant assistance.
It almost seems to me like the old days in Philadelphia which come back to me from the time I walked her streets, when we sat here at home and felt beating the pulse of war at the front, when we rejoiced for every little thing we could 30 do to make the soldiers at the front know our hearts were with them, to let them understand it was not in any supine indifference, not in any sense that the great work which they were doing belonged to them and not to us, that we dared to take that place which many of us look back upon now almost with shame. At least we rejoiced then for everything we could do to cheer their souls and strengthen their arms. So let it be
with those who stand forward here and voluntarily with noble consecration undertake this labor which belongs to the conduct of a great work like this. Let them not lack the perpetual Godspeed and the continual assistance and support of those who simply watch and bless what they are doing.
It is impossible for us to see the limits of a work like this. As one studies the lessons of such things as have been said to us to-night, how his thought opens into the future! The richness of these days in which we live is that it is impossible for us not to anticipate the future. I think there have been 10 certain ages in the world's history in which there has been almost no anticipation of things to come, when it seemed almost as if men lived in the days in which they were especially situated and did not look forward, did not feel that the present is inseparably bound to the future, and that it was 15 impossible to live in the present worthily unless they anticipated the future. There have been times in the world's history in which it seemed almost that was the case, but it has absolutely ceased now. In the end of the nineteenth century surely we do look forward into the twentieth century. 20 Peering into the vast distance, let us try to anticipate the days that are going to be. It seems to me one of the great things in the minds of people to-day in the anticipation of the future is the great, rich, solemn fear which anticipates the great future with anxiety because it sees the larger forces 25 which are going to work there.
It is impossible for us to look into a child's face to-day and not think of the fifty years in which that child is to live, if its life shall be spared to fulfil the normal length of human life upon earth, of the great forces that are coming into existence, 30 the great powers that are taking possession of this earth both in its physical and moral and spiritual life, the great powers that are shaking the old systems, so that we see that whatever is to come upon the world, the old systems have had their day and are ceasing to be, and something new is to come. 35 There is electricity in the air that those of the future are to