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OFFICE OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTmaster-General,
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13, 1897.
Mr. C. E. FAULKNER, Chairman Committee on Child-saving Work: Sir,— I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 6th inst., in which you state that the use of the mails is "abused by the dissemination of cheap papers under fair titles, which serve as advertising mediums for books and papers which would properly come under the ban of the law," which papers are industriously circulated, and enter the homes and reach the hands of boys and girls of the land, to the detriment of their moral interest. While the circulation of this class of literature may not fall within the prohibition of any statute, you advise me that any suggestion which may aid the organization of the National Conference of Charities and Correction, with which you are connected, in preventing the circulation of this class of literature, will be cordially welcomed. In reply I beg to assure you of my earnest sympathy with all proper efforts to prevent the spread of literature of an immoral character or unhealthful tendency. The character of matter intrusted to the mails is, however, to be judged under the laws made by Congress and the construction placed upon them by the courts. I know of no better method of limiting or arresting the circulation of matter which, while not actually of an unlawful character, is demoralizing in its tendency, than by the voluntary association of worthy people to educate the public mind against that class of literature, and thus render its circulation unprofitable.
Associations and efforts of the character suggested could scarcely fail to be influential in the creation of a healthful public sentiment, which would find expression, if need be, in more stringent legislation.
As a line of child-saving effort open to general co-operation, none offers better promise of immediate results for good than that which aims at the discovery and suppression of hurtful literature.
THE DAY NURSERY, KINDERGARTEN, AND MANUAL TRAINING
The day nursery, kindergarten, and manual training school are aids to child-saving which ought not to be dependent upon fitful benevolence, but should be placed in alignment with the common schools, for the protection and culture of child-life and the aid of those who toil for the support of humble homes.
In the care of children exposed to the street, economy and humanity never part company; and, next to the conservation of home
life, these care stations offer the surest antidote to distress and truancy which social science has yet evolved.
The pure food, uniform temperature, cleanliness, and care offered by the day nursery to working mothers for their little ones is a form of good cheer which is receiving commendable notice in Boston, Buffalo, and other cities, and is worthy of universal approval.
The kindergarten is an insurance against delinquency, and it recruits day schools and Sunday schools, and depletes the reform schools for juveniles. The reports of kindergarten service rendered through the Golden Gate Kindergarten Association, under the inspiring leadership of our lamented associate, Mrs. Sarah B. Cooper, and others, present a record of accomplished good fully verified by the testimony of the police department of San Francisco, which commends the system as worthy of the support of the tax-paying public. Among the smaller cities, Topeka, Kan., exhibits commendable enthusiasm in the organization and support of a kindergarten work fostered by private benevolence and deserving of public recognition and support.
The police department of New York City gives testimony to the great value of the kindergarten work in that community, and these examples may be multiplied by those furnished in the history of the service in other cities throughout the continent.
CO-OPERATION IN CONFERENCE SCHOOLS OF STUDY AND
There is encouraging evidence of increasing interest in conference schools for the study and comparison of methods in child-saving work, as witnessed by this meeting, when Canada, Mexico, and the United States unite for mutual improvement. The sentiments of approval expressed in the following reply from his Excellency, the President of Mexico, in response to an invitation to appoint representatives to this meeting from that government, give assurance of a permanent interest in a cause so dear to the heart of humanity.
MEXICO, February, 1897.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COMMITTEE ON CHILD-SAVING WORK:
Dear Sir, I received your kind letter of January 30th last, in which you were so good as to inform me that from the 7th to the 14th of next July
the Twenty-fourth National Conference of Charities will meet in Toronto, Canada, to discuss child-saving work.
I herewith have the pleasure of informing you that Mexico will be represented in that Conference, since we can do no less than recognize the supreme importance of a matter which interests and appeals to every lover of humanity. Justly has it been said, as you observe, that the family is the unit of social order and the moulder of good citizenship.
Among the many subjects which are treated of in international congresses, none is more attractive than that which you propose to discuss.
No other, certainly, offers so great an interest for the philanthropist as the remedy of ills which afflict man in his infancy, and which destroys in its germ his future on earth. I remain with great respect,
Your humble servant,
Your committee also desires to present an official acknowledgment of the receipt of the following communication, and the reports to which it refers :
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 1897.
Mr. C. E. FAULKNER, Chairman, Committee on Child-saving Work, Conference of Charities and Correction:
Dear Sir, Referring to your letter of February 13 last and to my answer of the 16th of the same month, I have the honor to inform you that I have just received a communication from the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Mexican government, dated at the City of Mexico on the 10th instant, enclosing the following reports referring to child-saving work in Mexico:
One copy of report on Foundling Asylums.
One copy of report on the Poorhouse.
One copy of report of the Industrial Orphans' School.
Two copies of the report of the Correctional School.
Two copies of an historical sketch of the National School for the Blind.
Two copies of the report of the School for the Deaf and Dumb.
The first three of the above-mentioned books are in Spanish, and the last three in English.
I have the pleasure of sending to you by this mail in a registered package the books mentioned. I am very truly yours,
EQUITIES OF INTERSTATE MIGRATION.
Many States have laws to safeguard the results of the interstate migration of dependants, delinquents, and defectives. Other States are without this protection, and their hospitality is often made the
convenience of societies and municipal officials whose acts present mixed motives of benevolence and "public thrift.”
Healthy children of fair morals will find a ready welcome wherever chance may drift them, but those whose lives have been touched with the blight of neglect often become unpromising burdens upon the public. Adjustments of equities could possibly be made under the law of "State comity" if there were proper means of identification established. In this wise those who had been admitted, and were discovered to be undesirables, could be returned to the startingpoint.
The office of a public guardian, heretofore mentioned, would also afford the convenience of registration lists compiled from reports to be made by all societies and official promoters of interstate migration of the classes named. If desired, the State records could be reported to some federate authority for compilation and publication.
Very much of interest and profit has been developed through the opportunities afforded by this Conference for study, counsel, and acquaintance. Opinions are modified, sympathies broadened, and knowledge increased through the intercourse enjoyed; and many laws upon the statute books for public betterments in social affairs have been inspired by the counsels here given. The platform is broad enough to avoid jostling. Last year we had a review of the Catholic Child-saving Work, this year a review of the Jewish Childsaving Work, next year we hope to hear from other religious fields, and, finally, to gather around the altar of our common humanity every heart which cherishes love and sympathy for needy child-life. The ambition which aspires to leadership in the world of religion, society, and law, may find encouragement in kneeling for a moment at this sacred shrine; for upon the highest summit of mutual endeavor the banner of "Child-saving and Child-helping Work" will wave as a signal to the conscience and intelligence of an improving civilization.
Obstacles fade away in the presence of necessity. Nor church, nor State, nor social creed, shall hinder a union of hearts and hands to place upon the path of opportunity a helping station to cheer the
fainting heart of every needy child who calls a God-fearing continent
It is not necessary at this time to emphasize the importance of saving homeless and wayward children. It is now conceded on all sides that, if we would make social progress and strengthen the foundations of good government, into the minds of this unfortunate class must be instilled principles of morality, thrift, industry, and self-reliance. It only remains to consider the best ways and means of accomplishing this.
At one time the orphan asylums and similar institutions were thought to be the only efficient means of saving homeless children; but the difficulty of providing in this manner for the large number to be cared for, and the disadvantages resulting from massing children under the artificial conditions of institutional life, have led to the utilization of family homes as a substitute for the orphan asylum, the latter now being regarded more as a temporary refuge and training school for suitably preparing the child for admittance into a desirable home. The family home has come to be accepted as the natural provision for all children, the unfortunate as well as the fortunate. The story of "Your Little Brother James," ingeniously and effectively told by Miss Pemberton, forcibly and truthfully illustrates what can be accomplished by providing a good home for a homeless and wayward child, a home in which kindness hearts of a wise father and
and sympathy and love dwell in the mother.