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may deviate from this by deterioration (produced by the causes referred to) the tendency of the race as a whole will always be to maintain the inherited mean. In other words, those inferior bodily characters which are the result of poverty (and not vice, such as syphilis and alcoholism) and which are therefore acquired during the lifetime of the individual, are not transmissible from one generation to another. To restore, therefore, the classes in which this inferiority exists to the mean standard of national physique, all that is required is to improve the conditions of living and in one or two generations the ground that has been lost will be recovered."
Professor Cunningham brought forward an elaborate scheme for what would practically be a physical census of the United Kingdom, which was backed up by the British Association and by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. The Committee evidently felt that this was too large an undertaking, but suggested a modification of it, a survey being mainly centered upon the youth of the country, in co-operation with all the forces of government, general and local, and with the large manufactories, hospitals, chambers of agriculture, trade unions and benefit societies, universities and public schools and insurance agencies. The tests used by local authorities should by standardized.
In substantiation of its belief that physical deterioration is not general, the Committee presents the following summary of the conclusions of Dr. Eichholz, Inspector of Schools:
(1) "I draw a clear distinction between physical degeneracy on the one hand and inherited retrogressive deterioration on the other.
(2) "With regard to physical degeneracy, the children frequenting the poorer schools of London and the large towns betray a most serious condition of affairs, calling for ameliorative and arrestive measures, the most impressive features being the apathy of parents as regards the school, the lack of parental care of children, the poor physique, powers of endurance and educational attainments of the children attending school.
(3) "Nevertheless, even in the poorer districts there exist schools of a type above the lowest, which show a marked upward and improving tendency, physically and educationally-though the rate of improvement would be capable of considerable acceleration under suitable measures.
(4) "In the better districts of the towns there exist public elementary schools frequented by children not merely equal but often superior in physique and attainments to rural children. And these schools seem to be at least as numerous as schools of the lowest type.
(5) "While there are, unfortunately, very abundant signs of physical defect traceable to neglect, poverty and ignorance, it is not possible to obtain any satisfactory or conclusive evidence of hereditary physical deterioration— that is to say, deterioration of a gradual retrogressive permanent nature, affecting one generation more acutely than the previous. There is little, if anything, in fact, to justify the conclusion that neglect, poverty and parental ignorance, serious as their results are, possess any marked hereditary effect, or that heredity plays any significant part in establishing the physical degeneracy of the poorer population.
(6) "In every case of alleged progressive hereditary deterioration among
the children frequenting an elementary school, it is found that the neighborhood has suffered by the migration of the better artisan class, or by the influx of worse population from elsewhere.
(7) "Other than the well-known specifically hereditary diseases which affect poor and well-to-do alike, there appears to be very little real evidence on the pre-natal side to account for the widespread physical degeneracy among the poorer population. There is, accordingly, every reason to anticipate, rapid amelioration of physique so soon as improvement occurs in external conditions, particularly as regards food, clothing, overcrowding, cleanliness, drunkenness and the spread of practical knowledge of home management.
(8) "In fact, all evidence points to active, rapid improvement, bodily and mental, in the worst districts, so soon as they are exposed to better circumstances, even the weaker children recovering at a later age from the evil effects of infant life.
(9) "Compulsory school attendance, the more rigorous scheduling of children of school age and the abolition of school fees in elementary schools, have swept into the schools an annually increasing proportion of children during the last thirty years. These circumstances are largely responsible for focussing public notice on the severer cases of physical impairment—just as, at a previous stage in educational development, they established the need for special training of the more defined types of physical deficiency—the blind, the deaf, the feebleminded and the crippled.
(10) "The apparent deterioration in Army recruiting material seems to be associated with the demand for youthful labor in unskilled occupations, which pay well, and absorb adolescent population more and more completely year by year. Moreover, owing to the peculiar circumstances of apprenticeship which are coming to prevail in this country, clever boys are often unable to take up skilled work on leaving school. This circumstance puts additional pressure on the field of unskilled labor and coupled with the high rates of wages for unskilled labor, tends to force out of competition the aimless wastrel population at the bottom of the intellectual scale and this, unfortunately, becomes more and more the material available for Army recruiting purposes.
(11) "Close attention seems to be needed in respect of the physical condition of young girls who take up industrial employment between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. The conditions under which they work, rest and feed doubtless account for the rapid falling off in physique which so frequently accompanies the transition from school to work."
After a resumé of the machinery which exists for improving housing conditions, for sanitation, for medical service, factory and labor regulation, etc., the Committee says:
"On the other hand, in large classes of the community there has not been developed a desire for improvement commensurate with the opportunities offered to them. Laziness, want of thrift, ignorance of household management and particularly the choice and preparation of food, filth, indifference to parental obligations, drunkenness, largely infect adults of both sexes and press with terrible severity upon their children. The very growth of the family resources, upon which statisticians congratulate themselves, accompanied as it frequently is
by great unwisdom in their application to raising the standard of comfort, is often productive of the most disastrous consequences. 'The people perish for lack of knowledge,' or, as it is elsewhere put, 'lunacy increases with the rise of wages and the greater spending power of the operative class; while a falling wage-rate is associated with a decrease of drunkenness, crime, and lunacy.' Local authorities, moreover, especially in the rural districts, are often reluctant to use their powers and in these circumstances progress, unless stimulated by a healthy public conscience in matters of hygiene, is slower than might be wished."
The evidence presented by the Committee in regard to overcrowding and unsanitary development reads like a chapter from the report of the New York Tenement House Commission. Evidently there is a vast missionary field still untouched in many-if not most of the manufacturing cities of England and Scotland. Edinburgh, Sheffield, Newcastle, Dundee, Manchester, to take a few cities at random, are all given dishonorable mention in the report of the Committee, which recommends that the local authority should treat an unhealthy or overcrowded house as a nuisance and dispossess the tenants. "The permanent difficulties that attach to the problem reside in the character of the people themselves, their feebleness and indifference, their reluctance to move and their incapability of moving." The Committee also considers tentatively the expedients which have been suggested for disposing of habitual vagrants.
The Committee are not prepared to indicate the exact lines upon which these ought to be modeled; "a large latitude should probably be left to each locality in healing its own sores, but as a last resource compulsory detention in labor colonies would have to be resorted to and the children of those made subject to this experiment lodged in public nurseries, until their parents were improved up to the point at which they could resume charge."
The attention of the Committee was prominently called to the effect on public health of the pollution of the atmosphere. A Manchester witness said: "The condition of the air by its direct effect on lungs and skin is the cause of much disease and physical deterioration. By cutting off much of the scant supply of sunlight which is all that Manchester at best would be allowed by its gloomy climate to receive, it injures health. The filthiness of the air makes those inhabitants of all parts of Manchester who value cleanliness most unwilling to ventilate their dwellings. By killing nearly all vegetation and by its other effects, the foulness of the air contributes much to that general gloominess of the town which led Mr. Justice Day to say in explanation of the prevalence of drunkenness in the town, that to get drunk 'is the shortest way out of Manchester.'
The chief causes of this pollution are alleged to be the non-enforcement of the law for the prevention of smoke from factories, the imposition of inadequate penalties, the neglect to limit works which produce noxious vapors to special areas where they can be closely supervised and so do the least possible amount of harm; and lastly, the absence of any provision in the law compelling the occupants of dwellings to produce the least possible quantity of smoke.
On the point of prosecutions, it was stated that "there are people in Manchester who systematically pollute the air and pay the fine, finding it much
cheaper to do so than to put up new plant. The trial of such cases before benches of magistrates composed of manufacturers or their friends creates an atmosphere of sympathy for the accused and it was alleged that magistrates who had sought to give effect to the law encountered the indifference and sometimes the positive opposition of their colleagues."
The Committee also offers some general testimony in regard to the effect of alcoholism, which is well summarized thus:
"Next to the urbanization of people and intimately associated with it, as the outcome of many of the conditions it creates the question of 'drink' occupies a prominent place among the causes of degeneration. The close connection between a craving for drink and bad housing, bad feeding, a polluted and depressing atmosphere, long hours of work in overheated and often illventilated rooms, only relieved by the excitement of town life, is too self-evident to need demonstration, nor unfortunately is the extent of the evil more open to dispute."
The statement is made that drinking habits among women of the working classes are certainly growing, factory labor being mentioned as a predisposing Reference is also made, in this connection, to the want of easily accessible and attractive means of recreation, which make the public-house the only certain center of social relaxation. On the other hand, testimony is offered as to the deterioration due to constant tea drinking! We quote from the report:
"Another fruitful and one of the must unsuspected causes of deterioration lies in the long ingrained habit of tea drinking at breakfast and other times in the factories and foundries of the city. Tea drinking, if it really were so, might not be harmful, but unfortunately the mixture drunk can hardly be called tea at all. More frequently than not boiling water is poured on too large an amount of poor tea leaves and is left to stand until the tea has become almost a stew and this dark and nasty mixture is drunk, sometimes three and four times a day, by hundreds of young lads, setting up frequently various forms of varicocele and is responsible for several kindred evils (excessive costiveness, etc.) We are informed by the late Chief Recruiting Officer in Manchester some time ago that a very large proportion of young men rejected for the Army had been refused on account of ailments brought about by this practice."
Over thirty pages of the report deal with the conditions attending the life of the juvenile population. In connection with the waste that goes on under the name of Infant Mortality, the Committee says:
"Among the most highly organized nations, where the tendency to a decrease in the birth-rate becomes more or less noticeable, the means by which infant mortality can be averted, present a social problem of the first importance. Unfortunately in the volume of vital statistics, from which so many consolatory reflections are drawn, infant mortality remains a dark page.
"Three facts stand out prominently as the result of this investigation: First, that infantile mortality in this country has not decreased materially during the last twenty-five years, notwithstanding that the general death-rate has fallen considerably; secondly, that the mortality among illegitimate children is enormously greater than among children born in wedlock; thirdly, that about one-half the mortality occurs in the first three months of life."
Much evidence is furnished to confirm these conclusions. The infant death-rate in a number of English and Scotch manufacturing cities was shown to average from 200 to 236 per 1000 births. In Dundee, Sheffield and many Lancashire towns it is a common thing to find a woman who has had a dozen children and has lost all but one or two of them. The report comments on the difficulty of getting complete figures as to infant mortality, owing to the absence in Great Britain of any registration of still-births!
"Every witness who was questioned on the subject agreed in deploring the present neglect and the Committee are emphatically of opinion that still-births should be registered, as apart from the advantages a system of registration would have in making it easier to bring home instances of malpractice, a knowledge of the facts as to the frequency of still-births would be of great value towards elucidating the causes of infant mortality by throwing light on the ante-natal conditions prejudicial to the survival of the fœtus."
The subject of infant insurance was also considered. "As to the propriety of interfering with this practice different opinions were expressed, though it was the general view that it contributed to parental negligence. On the whole it was thought that if restricted so as to cover the actual expenses of burial, its principal abuses would disappear. The evidence of Sir Lambert Ormsby, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, upon Irish practice in this regard, pointed to the prevalence of a very low view on the part of many medical men in respect to their obligations towards the security of infant life under the conditions touching insurance in that country.
"The Committee do not think that upon the evidence they are in a position to make any definite recommendation on this point, but they consider that the operation of the practice should be carefully watched."
So far as the Committee are in a position to judge, "the influence of heredity in the form of the transmission of any direct taint is not a considerable factor in the production of degenerates.”
In connection with the employment of mothers late in pregnancy and too soon after childbirth, a very general agreement was expressed that the factory employment of mothers had a bad effect on the offspring, both direct and indirect, but opinions differ as to the extent of the evil and the practical steps that could be taken to remedy it. It is to be found in the most acute form in the pottery districts and in textile mills. Speaking from an extensive experience in the potteries, Miss Garnett declared that "married women's labor was really the root of all the mischief; the children are born very weakly, they are improperly fed and placed in the charge of incapable people. She admitted the impossibility of interference by any general prohibition, but thought the period during which women are not permitted to return to work after their confinement should be extended.
"The existing law requires that no occupier of a factory shall knowingly allow a woman to be employed within four weeks after she has given birth to a child. Thus no legal offense arises unless the occupier, with a full knowledge of the facts, is yet responsible for the employment, a situation which, in the ordinary conditions attending factory labor, it is almost impossible to prove. It is needless to say that in these circumstances prosecutions are infrequent or