Obrázky na stránke


[ocr errors]

No, American," I replied.
" America for Deutschland ?

No, no; not at all,” I answered, with an
emphatic gesture. A look of disappointment
came into his broad, pleasantly animal face.
But as I was about to explain that America's
unfriendliness was for the German Govern-
ment, not for the German people, the wheezy
little engine pushed away the hospital train
with its windows full of bandaged heads and
its wake redolent of carbolic.

Who knows what thoughts that man had as he traveled back to the Fatherland through Sweden, where many among the masses are anti-German in this war, and through Denmark, where both masses and classes are pro-Ally? Is it not possible, even likely, that he and some of his fellows had an occasional glimpse of the issues of this war as they are seen by most persons whose eyes are not dimmed by the veil of prejudice and warped patriotism which the German Government draws before the gaze of its people ?

Is it not possible that even the Russian prisoners in Germany, having time to reflect, to read, or to learn to read, and having had the advantage of more travel than the average mushik gets in a lifetime, are preparing themselves to be the sort of citizens that will no longer brook a corrupt bureaucracy in

their own Government, to be citizens of the newer, better, more enlightened Russia that is coming with slow but unrelenting tread ?

While this war lasts, throughout Europe there will be several million men in exile from their native lands. Time is heavy on their hands. Most of them are men of little education, but men who want to make that little more. The agents of the Young Men's Christian Association who go among the prisoners of war report an insatiable craving for magazines, books, and particularly for the classics

-Shakespeare, Goethe, Tolstoy, Thackeray, Molière, Dumas-in French, English, Italian, Russian, or German.

A friend of mine who spent a year in an American prison for a semi-political offense says it was the best year of his life. He did more reading, more thinking, his mind matured and crystallized more, during that year in a cell than during any two free years of his life. Anything that can be done to sharpen the intellect, strengthen the spirit, and widen the view-point of the millions of men, mostly poorly educated or uneducated, who are prisoners of war, is a step toward the regeneration of Europe, toward the democratization of the world. It may be the principal constructive phase of a war in which the participants are all immediately bent on destruction.

[ocr errors]


BY THE MARCHIONESS OF ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR In response to a request from the editors of The Outlook, Lady Aberdeen tells here the story of what Ireland is doing to rebuild her cities in accordance with inodern demands and to give the little children of Ireland a better chance for life, health, and happiness. Ireland's problems are largely the same is those which every country under modern conditions has to solve, and in what Ireland is doing Americans can not only help but can also find some ideas for the rebuilding of American cities and the renewing of American life.

Though Lord and Lady Aberdeen are as keen in their advocacy of Ireland's cause as if their interest were born of yesterday, their concern in Irish (rffairs has been of thirty years' duration. This article is a reply to questions from the cditor's of The Outlook as to how Lord and Lady Aberdeen first became identified with Ireland, what the special problems of Ireland are to-day, and what people here in America can do to help. - The EDITORS.

ORD ABERDEEN first became Vice- After it was decided that we were to go to Ireroy of Ireland in 1886.

It came land only a fortnight was available for prepavery unexpectedly, as we had never had ration. During that fortnight of preparation anything to do with Ireland. On my mother's there was an absolutely yellow fog in London. side I am largely Irish, but I had never been We had to make all our preparations within there at all, and never thought of going there. this time. We knew practically nobody in

[ocr errors]



for us.

Ireland, and we were very, very doubtful as lead in the movement which brought about to how we should get on there. It was only the formation of a new Government Departfour years after the Phoenix Park tragedy, ment for Agriculture and Technical Instrucand the political atmosphere was still very tion. The Land Purchase Acts were graduuncertain. Well, we crossed the Channel by ally solving the long-standing land problem. night, and steamed into Dublin Bay in the Meantime the housing conditions in the Irish morning, in the most glorious sunshine. Our cites remained untouched. As to the public four children were with us, and they were health, the Registrar-General pointed out very much excited. They were dressed in figures with regard to tuberculosis to the effect white, and were immensely delighted with the that in 1864 Ireland stood better than either whole show, and as the state procession England or Scotland. By 1906 this was moved through the city they waved and reversed. In the other two countries conkissed their hands. The Irish love children, ditions had been bettered, whereas in Ireland and so our children paved the way very much comparatively little had been done. During

all those years there was the emigration to The industrial movement then came into America also, which was draining the counplay. We found a great many scattered try of its young life. Here was a really serihome industries, which were developed into ous condition. The tendency of tuberculosis a collection of industries such as people had was to increase rather than to decrease. As not dreamed of. We put a notice in the in America, one reason for the growth of papers that any one who had things they tuberculosis in Ireland, notably in Belfast and would like to show might apply. I visited also in Dublin, was the congested condition schools, convents, etc., in connection with of the people in the cities. The poor from the this work. There were a number of small country districts coming into the city to be lace industries started after the famine. Many relieved were always accentuating the condiof them had no regular way of reaching the tions in Dublin. In Belfast the congestion markets. Each was trying to do what it could of population was due to the factories and to in its own way.

rapid growth. So the Irish Industries Association was The economic problem of Ireland had been formed in order to try to help to improve and changing from a rural problem to a city probdevelop these industries, to find a market for lem. What was to be done? There had been them, and to make them known. Of course an association—a branch of the National Mr. Gladstone's Government was in power Association for the Study and Prevention of for only a very short time, and we then left Tuberculosis—but it had not done much. It Ireland. Should we go on with our project ? was then decided to start this women's assoPresident Sullivan, of Queen's University, ciation, with the idea of appealing specially Cork, and Sir Robert Hamilton, a very re- to women. This organization, actually started markable man, Under-Secretary in the Irish in 1907, was called the Women's National Government and one of the originators of the Health Association of Ireland. The first Home Rule movement, said, By all means idea was to deal purely with tuberculosis, but try to get your plan started. We communi- the plan was afterwards made to include the cated with every sort of person of all different general health. Among the health problems churches and creeds about it, and it was really which engage the consideration of the Assovery delightful to find out how ready they ciation are stamping out tuberculosis, comwere to work together over this.

bating the causes of infant mortality, providFrom that time, although we did not go ing for a proper milk supply, advocating the back to Ireland officially until twenty years movement for better housing, spreading the later, I was a great deal there, working at knowledge and practice of health principles these industries in the meantime.

in the home, promoting school hygiene, and When we came back to Ireland, in 1906, developing healthful recreation. Take tuberthe industrial movement had taken altogether culosis, for instance; this question received a a a different position. A number of associa- quick response.

quick response. The Irish people are quick tions had been formed to deal with it, and to seize an idea. If they once see that it is a there had been improvement, not only in good thing, they promptly take it up. This the relations between England and Ireland, public education campaign, by which means but also in the economic development of America accomplishes so many useful social Ireland itself. Sir Horace Plunkett took the reforms, just suited the people. Although



five years.

we were working through the Women's For the work in the rural sections the Association, it was an appeal to the people British Government advances money for the generally, on the ground that this was their building of farm laborers' cottages and also business. The Association is made up mainly for occupiers' houses. This work is done of Irish women, but men may belong. It is through the rural local authorities, and has an Irish movement for Ireland. It includes to be paid back by them spread over sixtypeople representing all parties and churches

The Government extends credit and classes. This is a great point. Exhibi- to the local authorities in Ireland. Ireland, tions were sent all over Ireland, and wherever with the help of the credit of the British they visited a branch association was formed. Government, has really been rebuilding its

Another object is to save Irish babies that rural communities. It is not something would otherwise die for lack of proper con- being done outside of Ireland. It is being ditions of life. The health condition of babies done by Ireland itself, with the help of the throughout Ireland in the country districts is credit of the great Empire. comparatively good, and that helps to keep What the British Government has been down the death rate for Ireland as a whole ; doing for the upbuilding of the farms of but the conditions in the cities are hard on Ireland there was every reason to believe it the babies, because the cities have grown would do for the upbuilding of the cities of under such conditions that there is a lack of Ireland. Again, this would not mean that proper houses for the people—even for those the Empire would build up the Irish cities who can afford to pay for good houses. itself, but that Ireland, using the credit of the

It is very hard for a workingman to have Empire, would rebuild its own cities in its a suitable house for himself, even though he own way and under its own direction. Dublin can afford to rent one. And this man is would rebuild itself, Belfast would plan her helpless by himself; he cannot make the development so far as needed; but in that houses himself, but must depend upon a rebuilding they would have the advantage of general movement to improve the whole drawing on the credit of the Empire—at least, housing conditions. Such a movement is so we hoped. There seemed every prospect one of the things that the Women's National of success—and then the war broke out. Health Association is trying to support and Of course this work of rebuilding could promote. Through their initiative the Hous- be done only very gradually. Just before the ing and Town Planning Association of Ireland war began we opened a Civic Exhibition in was formed. Subsequently the Municipal Dublin. The idea was to put the question Authorities' Association started, all these not only before the people of Ireland, but associations working in very close relations before Great Britain and others. It was an with each other for civic purposes.

Exhibition of Civics rather than a civic exhiThe housing business was brought rather bition, for it showed the great advance that to a climax in the autumn of 1913 by the had been made among the rural communities sudden collapse of one of the old streets in and the relative backwardness of the cities. Dublin. This brought the matter to the We were to show what the rural communities attention of the public, for the whole side of had done, what the cities had done and what the street fell down, houses and all, showing they had not done, what they could do, and the dilapidated condition of a large part of what we hoped from the Government. This Dublin. In this collapse there was some loss was planned and carried out. The exhibition, of life. There was a great outcry everywhere, held in one of the great old disused barracks even the papers of other countries taking the (completely renovated and adapted for this matter up. An official committee was ap. purpose), had just been opened a fortnight pointed to inquire into the housing of Dublin,

when war

was declared. Nearly all the and also of other towns in Ireland.

city and county authorities came to the openport showed how helpless everybody was on ing, headed by the Lord Mayor and Corporaaccount of the large scale of the problem. tion of Dublin in state, and it was an It was estimated that four million pounds traordinary success. In organizing we had sterling was required for Dublin alone. the help of Mr. John Nolen, of Cambridge, Government help must be forthcoming to Massachusetts, well known as a town-planner, relieve the urban situation, and this was who worked out the plans for this exhibition promised on somewhat the same lines as and helped to get all the different authorities that given to the rural communities.

to take an interest in it. It was the first time

That re



the Government departments had shown their work. We thought all this would help, and it may later.

In connection with this, Lord Aberdeen offered to award five hundred pounds for the best plan for a New Dublin, which would fit in with Dublin's beautiful situation, and in which the convenience of the working classes would be especially considered. We hoped that if some really good plan should be submitted it might be presented in such a way that it would appeal to the Irish people all over the world. We hoped to have such a plan that whatever was done for the rebuilding of the city in each year or in each decade would be done along that plan. It would give scope for individuals or for any voluntary societies to work along with the Government. The competitive plans have been presented, but the matter is being held in abeyance, as it would not be fair to have an adjudication at the present time. Mr. John Nolen, Professor Patrick Geddes, of Edinburgh, and the City Architect of Dublin are the three adjudicators. The competition is closed, but the prize has not been awarded and will not be until there is an opportunity for proper exhibition and publicity. Out of this has been formed the Civics Institute of Ireland, to direct this whole thing and try to focus public attention on it, when the time comes, as it surely will.

In the meanwhile everything of this sort has to be postponed on account of the war, and, owing to financial conditions, it is impossible to tell what money there will be. Fifteen hundred houses in Dublin have been condemned, but people are still living in them. There


course, a great many more that are most unwholesome, and over twelve thousand families of five or six members are living in single-room.tenements,

In the exhibition we had a delightful sec. tion on child welfare. Dr. Anna Louise Strong who is attached to the United States Children's Bureau assisted in the organization. We wanted to present the cause. in that very striking pictorial way in which such things are done here in the United States. Miss Strong presented one of those posters showing the Titanic going down, and comparing it with the number of infants whose deaths are preventable, but not so dramatic. We cannot prevent the deaths on the battlefield, All the women are pressing forward nobly to serve in every way in the war—as nurses, etc.—but a good many could help in saving the babies in the next street.

At the bottom of this problem of housing in Dublin is the nature of the employment of the men in that city. The main support of the people in that city is casual employment, and the wages are low. Mr. D. A. Chart, in a paper read before the Statistical and Social Enquiry Society of Ireland, said :

In Dublin the average wage paid is about '18 shillings [$4.50] a week, and even so low a figure as 15 shillings [$3.75] or 16 shillings [$4] has been recorded. Where wages are apparently higher than this 18 shillings figure, it will usually be found that some new factor has entered into the problem-for instance, the question of trust or responsibility, or again irregularity of employment due to various causes. . . . It seems fair to take 18 shillings as the usual remuneration, and to describe the conditions as they exist on that basis, remembering always that the description must be taken as applying to at least a quarter of our total population.

We must begin the study by assuming that marriage is the normal state of man, and that, once youth is passed, celibacy will be the exception rather than the rule. . . . The girl of the working-class districts in the center of Dublin is the mother of a household at an age when the girl of the suburbs is engaging in nothing more serious than tennis

or term examinations.

In the first place, it will be seen that not much can be set aside from the domestic budget for the item of housing expenses. The receiver of 18 shillings [$4.50] a week cannot afford to pay more than 2 shillings 6 pence [67 cents] to 3 shillings [75 cents] a week for the rent of his dwelling: Now, the plain fact of the matter is that decent accommodation fit for the inhabitation of a family cannot be commercially supplied for this figure. ... The laboring man, therefore, in Dublin is driven to adopt the same policy with housing as with other necessities of life, the adaptation to his own use of the secondhand possessions discarded by his richer fellow-citizens.... Instead of one family occupying a ten-roomed house there is a family in every room, each paying from 2 shillings to 3 shillings a week for its accommodation.

In the meantime, seeing that bigger schemes for housing are not practicable at present, all that can be done is by that sort of individual personal work (and this means much) which a voluntary association can do in helping the mothers under these conditions to save the children. Als that can be done is by means of nurses—district or visiting nurses—and then the babies' clubs, which are practically what might be called infant welfare centers, including milk stations, schools, meals for children, provision for medical care


It was

and dental care. The latter is one of the is being done through these nurses and things that are urgently needed in Ireland. A workers, easy, as it is not offered in a patronnumber of young men have been rejected for izing spirit. This work is really removing the the army on account of defective teeth. Then artificial obstacles that are now in the way of there are the playgrounds, which we lay great people who, in spite of those obstacles, are

, stress on, and the open spaces in the city. really doing wonderfully. The people do respond so wonderfully, even The Central Association undertook various when there is no other help being given. expenses in order to provide sanatoria under

One means of carrying on this work is by the Insurance Act. The Insurance Act prospreading information as to hygienic condi- vides for the care of the sick, furnishes a tions and the way to maintain health. We certain allowance for them, and makes proare told to economize, economize, economize ; vision whereby in certain diseases there can but what does this economy mean? We be special arrangements made for help. teach the mothers about food. The mothers Tuberculosis was the first disease to be proare very, very keen about it, and, with the vided for. Therefore anybody suffering from help of the babies' clubs and the nurses, they tuberculosis could have sanatorium benefit try hard to carry out the advice under diffi- if the insurance committees recommended it. cult circumstances.

There is an insurance committee in every The goodness, the heroism, of the Dublin county, and the patients must have the mothers is beyond words, although this is recommendation of this committee. not the general impression. Dublin is often thought that it was promised to everybody, spoken of as “ dear, dirty Dublin.” That but each individual case has to be passed on gives an impression quite unfair. Mothers and each insurance committee has to consider work under severe difficulties. One tap in what can be done. There was a grant given the back yard may furnish the only water for the erection of sanatoria, the local ausupply for ever so many families. I have it thorities to erect them. But there was very on the authority of doctors who have carried little accommodation available. Accordingly on voluntary medical inspection, and also the Association was allowed a grant to put from the nurses, that, if you would compare up emergency sanatoria, and then, to meet the real cleanliness among children in Dublin the need of the public, it undertook to erect with the same classes in other cities, it is in further pavilions. It counted on the continufavor of Dublin. At the Civic Exhibition we ance of what had been proved to be possible had a demonstration of medical inspection and in the past, and therefore made contracts for examined any children who were presented. the erection of certain buildings on the plan Our lady doctor, who has extensive experi- of deferred payments. And then the war ence, had charge of it, and her report brought came and cut off what the Association had out the fact that the level of cleanliness was every reason to expect would continue— higher in Dublin than in other cities among namely, voluntary contributions from Engthis class of poor children, and that in spite land and Scotland as well as Ireland. of great difficulties. The standard of morality Under the law which regulates incorpois very high, considering the congested con- rated societies the Association, if it does not dition of living Then there is the kind- meet its obligations within a certain time, ness to one another—the way all help to can be wound up on petition. Sad to say, bring a family through at a tight time. They some people want to break it up ; they say will deny themselves in order to help others, they must have their money at once. Each as, for instance, in supplying milk for a member of the Association becomes liable neighbor's sick child. It is all these charac- for a small sum if it is wound up. All this teristics which make this work so hopeful makes the present exigency especially acute, and so necessary.

as it would mean stopping the work of the In one sense, we may say that there is branches all over Ireland. enough public machinery to do this work ; The Outlook asks me to tell what can be there are medical dispensaries in Ireland to done in America to help. which anybody can go—at least, they can, Friends in America can help us to disnominally, on paper ; but the people dislike charge these liabilities ; but it is not only a to have anything to do with what appears to matter of discharging liabilities. The chilbe connected with the Poor Law. It makes dren's sanatorium is standing there empty ; the work of the Association, therefore, which it could be opened at once if we were free;

« PredošláPokračovať »