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Beginning of Protection


shown by Virgil is that of a great gentleness, a great humaneness,—a difference in their times,— and yet Cicero, who represents the stoical and gentler sentiments of the Virgilian times toward the helpless and powerless victims of force as did no man up to his day, speaks tolerantly of the inhuman practices of his time. But there is a growth of humaneness from Homer to Virgil, there is advance from Plato to Cicero, humanely speaking of course; there was greater advance in the teachings of Christ, and there was further advance in the course of the long-drawn-out struggle between the nominal acceptance of those teachings and their incorporation into the daily philosophy. So, too, progress in the care of the rights of infancy and childhood has been made very little by very little.

It is the fact that, until 1874, there was no organized movement to defend the "rights" of children that led the author to investigate the conditions that had existed previous to that time. The first Child's Protective Movement began in New York in the year mentioned, and the rapidity with which this spread throughout the world indicated that some general law, or as Brinton says, psychological process was at work. Today there are protecting societies in every country where there are Caucasian peoples. To go to the sources of the Child Protection Movement, it was necessary to understand the industrial conditions which arose in the nineteenth century, the eighteenth cen

tury, and the latter part of the seventeenth, when the boast was made that children were at last being made useful.

Back of the misuse of children in factories is the interesting story of the rise of modern industrialism with the early attempts of the guilds to protect children, not so much out of any development of the human feelings as from the guild's desire to protect the male labourer from unfair competition.

The Decree of Napoleon in 1811,' declaring that the unprotected infant was a charge on the state, marked another advance in humanitarianism; back of this advance was the long and interesting story of the endeavours of the religious orders and the charitably disposed persons of the. Middle Ages to save the lives of children, the most conspicuous benefactor of childhood being the noble St. Vincent de Paul. It was he who gave to the golden glories of France's golden age a touch of humanity that would otherwise have been lacking in the epoch ruled over by Mazarin and later the Great Louis.

Leading up to the efforts of St. Vincent de Paul was that complex and interesting chapter of the mixing of the old German laws with the Roman laws, as the barbarians found them.

That the semi-barbarous tribes that descended on Rome were better qualified to take up the humane side of the Christian work than was the decadent Roman, we can assume from the statement

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Datheus and the Foundlings


of Tacitus, that among the Germans children were treated more kindly than they were by the then ruling lords of the earth.

Satire there may have been, as Guizot and Voltaire suggest, in much that Tacitus wrote about the superior morality of the Germans, but later history demonstrated their ethical superiority over the nation that was then on the verge of moral decay.

In any case, as the Christian religion spread among the tribes that had enfiladed Rome, there are evidences of more humane consideration for children until we find Bishop Datheus as early as 787 A.D. founding an asylum for children in a spirit strangely in advance of his time, though the bitter protests of the Christian fathers in the second century against the slaughter and misuse of children put the mark of infamy on the persecutors of children for all time.

The Roman laws, as the barbarians found them, were the result of a slow growth of a thousand years from the time when the founder attempted to check the slaughter of young children by what must have been, in those primitive times, more or less drastic legislation. That the teachings of Christ and the teachings of the Stoics led to the same result does not detract from the credit due to Christianity for first putting on its proper basis, as we see things now, the standing of the child in the matter of its rights.

Back of the Roman developments is the Greek

attitude toward children, disappointing, if we look for the perfection that we find in art and in philosophy, doubly disappointing when we find that both Plato and Aristotle saw the child only as a possibility-only as something of which we must await developments-only as a human ovum.

When we come to trace the attitude of other races, of other civilizations, toward children, we find much the same story: out of barbarism, civilization; out of civilization, humanity, though it has been usually the great Semitic religions-Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism-that have awakened the humane instinct the world over. The humane teachings of the Stoics were not unlike those of the great religious teachers, but, lacking the intense driving power of religious fervour, it is doubtful if they could have accomplished the revolutions that these three religions did.

That all the great nations, the historical divisions of the races, or those that passed out of barbarism into civilization, carried with them some trace of early cannibalistic days or child-murder days, seems a safe conclusion; and while occasional followers and interpreters of the Malthusian philosophy have at times attempted to defend indirectly these practices as part of the checks and balances by which over-population is defeated, the fact remains that the development of the parental instinct, the greatest of civilizing forces, has slowly, but surely, tended to put an end to these "checking" and "balancing" practices.



T is now believed by many scientists that the cradle of the human race was the IndoMalaysian intertropical lands.

The discovery of the remains of the Pithecanthropus erectus in 1892 by Dr. Eugene Dubois in the pliocene beds of East Java, established as a strong probability what was up to that time regarded as a mere speculation. Keane' and Sir John Evans now assert that man originated in the East in this vicinity and migrated thence to Europe.

In this semi-glacial period, man, having taken on much of his human character and being now an erect animal (although in physical and mental respects he still resembled his nearest kin), had little difficulty in migrating.

During the immensely long old Stone Age to which Peroché assigns a period of some three

'A. H. Keane, Man Past and Present, p. 9.


Sir John Evans, Inaugural Address, British Association Meeting, Toronto, 1897.

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