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is the foundation of all social welfare and morality, and to obtain it for the homeless is the duty of the State.
The question arises, If and when this Metropolitan Central Board is instituted, under which State department should it be placed ? A good deal has been said about a special department for Poor-law children, under the Local Government Board, but this does not appeal to many of us as wise on several grounds.
(1) Because it would keep the children in touch with pauper officials and their ideas, wnich are rightly and necessarily for the most part those of repression and not development.
(2) Because it would make the children a class apart, a pauper class under special regulations and restrictions, dissociated, therefore, from other children and less likely to be absorbed into the general population.
(3) Because the Local Government Board, not being in touch with the development of educational methods, would not bring to bear the best methods on those most in need of them.
(4) Lastly, because the Local Government Board has hitherto failed to do well by the children.
This is a grave charge, but it can be abundantly substantiated.
For nineteen years the Local Government Board has allowed the Guardians to break the law of the land in working children of all ages, regardless of their educational standard, as half-timers. In some schools they began to labour as young as eight or nine, and it is to be noted, not at work which was instructive and educational, but which their own inspectors respectively denounced as 'drudgery' for the girls, and “very unsatisfactory' for the boys.
For thirty-eight years it has been known that when large numbers of children were aggregated a lower vitality prevailed, and that ophthalmia was rarely absent. In 1870 Mr. Nettleship reported that nearly 80 per cent of the children in Hanwell had been afflicted by ophthalmia. In 1888 Dr. Bridges reported that in thirteen years there had been 2,649 cases, only 539 being imported from outside. In 1890, out of 993 children in the schools, 576 were on the sick-list, 344 from ophthalmia. The ophthalmic history of other schools has. been almost as tragic as that of Hanwell, but although the Local Government Board knew these facts from its own inspectors, it has continued to allow schools to be enlarged, and even as late as October of this year has granted permission to add to the buildings which fit the development rather than the abandonment of one of these unwieldy institutions.
The problem of the ‘in and out' child is no new problem. In 1889 Dr. Bridges computed that 63.64 per cent. of the entire population of these schools were admitted and discharged during each year;
VOL, XLI-No. 239
while Mr. Lockwood, the Local Government inspector, prepared a table which showed
particulars of eleven families representing the more prominent 'ins and outs' for Marylebone Workhouse. ... One family of three children, between the 3rd of October 1893 and the 19th of November 1894, were in and out of the workhouse, admitted and discharged, sixty-two times. ... Another family of four were in and out forty-three times in that period, and another has been in and out of the workhouse between the 25th of July and the 21st of November 1894 sixteen times;
but the Local Government has not yet adequately dealt with the matter.
In 1844 the Act permitting the foundation of district schools was passed in order to remove the children from the contaminating influences of the workhouse ; but in London, according to the evidence of the Local Government Board inspector, there are some 2,000 children in the workhouses, for the most part in daily contact with the adult paupers and deprived of any adequate education. It is difficult to discover any steps which the Local Government Board has taken to remedy this deplorable condition of things.
The Canadian farmers are eager to adopt poor children, but such are the arrangements which the Local Government Board has made for the pauper children that the street waifs of Liverpool are preferred to the State-supported children. The philanthropic societies demand for their children a regulated and rising rate of wages. The Local Government Board demands none. The philanthropic societies require of the farmers who take these children that they give them a certain specified amount of education. The Local Government Board makes no such requirement. Over and above these stipulations Dr. Barnardo finds it necessary to inspect three or four times a year the children he places out, and to provide for them receiving homes to which they can be sent in case of a change in the family's circumstances. The Local Government Board makes no such inspection and provides no such receiving homes. “As a matter of fact,' said Mr. Knollys, the chief official of the Local Government Board, “the emigration officers are supposed to make an annual report, but we do not receive more than one report on each child. Poor babe! sent out alone at six or eight or ten to a strange land, looked after once by its fond fosterparent, the State, and once only. Is it to be wondered at that the children have been found in doss-houses in Montreal, and that Canada not unnaturally objects to be the dumping-ground of what England's carelessness justifies it in considering rubbish ?
Feeble-minded children are not a new discovery. They have ever existed as the product of drink, vice, and semi-starvation. In October 1894 the Local Government Board caused their medical officers to make an inquiry into the number who were in the provincial workhouses and infirmaries, and to state what proportion were, in their
opinion, likely to be benefited by special treatment. The figures returned were 485, of whom it was said 178 could be aided by suitable training. But the Local Government Board has done nothing for these children. Although they are not eligible for the imbecile asylums, they can, under sympathetic care, be made happy, if not very useful, members of the community.
When I consider the courtesy of the President and of the Local Government Board officials with whom I have the privilege of acquaintance, when I remember the colossal dimensions of their labours (the medical inspector being supposed to be responsible for 74,000 beds), I feel regret at having to bring so heavy an indictment against the Local Government Board ; but the truth is best known, and what it all amounts to is that children, with their tender natures, their delicate balance between good and evil, their insistent demands for individual treatment, are not an appropriate item in the immense organisation which has to do with drains, vagrants, asylums, guardian boards and workhouses, election orders, sanitary authorities, dangerous trades, and workshop inspection.
The atmosphere of thought which is engendered by the consideration of these matters is not the best through which to see a little child's interests, nor in which to unravel the intricacies of educational principles and practices. Children are best dealt with by experts, and by a department which has only to do with education. In this relation it is noteworthy that Sir Godfrey Lushington, as chairman of a Departmental Committee of Inquiry into Industrial and Reformatory Schools, has recommended that they all be transferred from the Home Office to the Education Department. The arguments that he uses apply with equal, if not greater, force to Poor-law children. He contends that the object of such schools is 'to restore the children to society, and that they should, as far as possible, be prevented from feeling themselves to be a class apart;' and he asserts that 'the general training of these children, as distinguished from schoolroom instruction, is the work of education in its broadest sense;' and that the Home Office has nothing to do with education' (which, indeed, is equally true of the Local Government Board), 'whilst the Education Department has its entire interest in the problem of the education of the young.'
Sir Godfrey holds that an inspector inspecting this class of children, and no other, becomes prone to acquiesce in the standard of such general training as he finds to be commonly prevailing in these schools,' whereas if the children were inspected by different inspectors in different parts of the country, who are accustomed to inspect the children of the ordinary population, they would be quick to note and correct any tendency to treat the children as a class apart,' and the views of the department would be formed from various and experienced sources.
These opinions should carry much weight; all the more so, because they also have been held for many years by so experienced a statesman as Lord Norton, and are now maintained by the large body of persons who have recently associated themselves under the name of the State Children's Aid Association. With Viscount Peel at its head, that association has started to try and obtain for the children of the State what, after all, is every human creature's inalienable right—the right to be treated as an individual.
HENRIETTA O. BARNETT.
THE FRENCH IN MADAGASCAR
A year ago, on the 30th of September, the flying column from Andriba led by General Duchesne took Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The march from the coast had been painful in the extreme, and the loss of life from sickness exceedingly heavy; indeed, it is impossible to estimate it at much less than a third of the whole effective force of 24,000 men.
Fortunately for the invading column the natives made scarcely any attempt at defending their country, displaying, throughout the five or six months during which the campaign lasted, an absolute want of foresight, generalship, and bravery. It is needless to inquire into the cause of this utter collapse of a nation which had been credited, on somewhat slender grounds, with the possession of several of the qualities requisite for independence and self-development.
My object in the present article is to give a short account of the present state of the country and to show how far French influences have succeeded in making their way in the first twelve months of occupation.
Immediately on the arrival of General Duchesne a treaty was signed by the Malagasy authorities, by which the whole power of the country was ceded to the French. The queen remained in her place, and the Hova Prime Minister was also allowed to be nominally at the head of affairs. Part of this arrangement was found impracticable after a short time; the Prime Minister had enjoyed unlimited power for too long a period to accept a subordinate position, and General Duchesne was forced to remove him. Accordingly, he was taken to a house of his own at a short distance from the capital, where he was kept under surveillance for two or three months, but as he was still supposed to be plotting he was deported to Algiers, in which country he died after a very short exile.
It seemed at first as if the change of masters in the island was to be accomplished without any serious disturbance. The Malagasy were evidently cowed by the arrival of the Expeditionary Corps; rumours were spread by the natives themselves of the ferocity of the black troops brought by the French, and the proximity of a European house was welcomed as a haven of shelter. I myself was begged by