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cannot shut its eyes to the needs of the negroes, their strong and unrecognized claims upon the government, nor refuse assent to the resolution of the Capon Springs Conference, that the national government in recognition of moral obligations incurred by the enfranchisement of the negroes, should aid in the establishment of primary and industrial education in the South. A significant paragraph on the subject of national aid to the schools in the South is the following taken from Dr. Curry's report :
“Whatever may be the character or urgency of issues, new or old, presented to the American people, of obligations growing out of enlarged relations, free schools for all the people, good enough to attract and instruct the rich and cheap enough to provide for and educate the poor, is the duty to which nothing can be paramount, and for the neglect or postponement of which no exigency of party or country is an excuse. What is the paramount issue is the furnishing by the government of the widest possible opportunities for the development of the faculties and personality of every citizen. It is said that in the struggle for world power, the United States is dependent on national resources, economic power and social development; but all these, however concentrated, will be ineffective without general education and intelligent and trained skill in labor. Where Christian democracy obtains, and the man in man is sought out, one hears, as a writer in the August Forum quotes, 'constantly the sound of polished boots descending, of wooden shoes mounting upward.' Private and denominational schools will never educate the mass of the people, and every citizen should have furnished to him, without money and without price, the means of a fair and useful education. Hateful and mischievous and unchristian is that skepticism or narrowness which prates about keeping the poor in what is called their proper 'station,' or 'pauperizing' the people by a gratuitious system of education. Amid clerical and other obstacles our sister republic of France is earnestly seeking to cure ignorance of the agricultural masses and her backward state in many branches of information. For the furtherance of public instruction, especially in its primary branch, the yearly budget is more than ten times what it was before the war of 1870–71. Leaving out the art section, the appropriation was $41,638,000. In spite of social and political upheavals, the republic has made progress which reaches the masses, and primary instruction is now gratuitous, compulsory and secular.”
Legal Aid for the Poor.-The Legal Aid Society of New York City, founded in March, 1876, nearly twenty-five years ago, has in that time recovered over $800,000, for its clients, from persons who were trying to defraud them. In the single year 1899, the society received over ten thousand applications for assistance. The average amount of money involved in these cases is about $8. The society asks for a retainer's fee of ten cents for each case, although where investigation proves that the client cannot pay even this small sum, it is remitted. Where the sum involved is more than $10, and where more than $10 is actually collected the society charges the client, in addition to the retainer's fee of ten cents, a fee of 10 per cent for services. Most of the cases are settled out of court by correspondence without great difficulty as soon as the offending parties find that a powerful society is back of the claim. In a recent published statement, Mr. Arthur von Briesen, the president of the society, spoke of the indirect service the society rendered, as follows:
" It is not merely that we protect the weak from being wronged and defrauded of that which is their just due; that is a great deal, to be sure, but there are other and collateral results which are of value to the community and the country. The society's work makes good citizens and arouses a sentiment of respect for the laws, and also, I may say, a sentiment of patriotism. Many of our clients are persons of foreign birth—people, often, who are ignorant of the laws and of how to set the machinery of the law in motion. They have some vague idea that there is law for the redress of wrongs, but they have heard that it is too costly a luxury for the poor: that it is law for the rich and not for the poor. They know they have been defrauded and wronged, but redress may seem to them hopeless. They have no money to secure it, and therefore they think it is not for them. The consequence is that they become bitter, not only against the particular person who has wronged them, but also against society in general, against the country which permits society to be organized on so unjust a basis. Such persons—and they need not be confined to persons of foreign birth by any means—are ripe to listen to those social agitators and disturbers who are only too prevalent. They are ripe for enlistment in the ranks of those who are regarded as dangerous to the security of law and order.
“Now, it is to just such persons as these that our society comes with its helping hand. We demonstrate to them that there is not only law in this country to redress wrongs and to protect people from cheating and fraud, but that it is law for the poor as well as for the rich. If a person comes to us with a complaint of extortion or of swindling or of faithlessness in carrying out a contract, or of any offence against persons or property that is remediable under our laws, we will see that he has justice done him, even though he may not be able to pay the retainer of ten cents, for which the rules of the society nominally provide. He has justice, in other words, no matter how poor he is.
Now, when a weak and helpless person finds that he is an integral part of a community that will protect him because of his very weakness and helplessness, he is very apt to become a staunch supporter of the social organization of that community and a very poor listener to the preachers of discord and discontent. Furthermore, he is proud to claim a country as his own that so well looks after the rights of even the humblest of her citizens. It stirs in him not only that which resents assaults upon social order, but that also which is the genuine spirit of patriotism.
"In view of the mixed character of our population and the comparative strangeness on the part of many of them to our ways and our social structure, these are important consideratious, important not only as regards people of this kind, but also as regards our own people, born and bred here. The fundamental conviction well settled in the minds of all who through misfortune are unable to assert their own rights that there is a force in the community that will assert their rights for them, and not only assert them, but get them-such a conviction as that implanted in all minds is of great value to the community and is a material factor in the country's strength.
“These are only some of the indirect results of the Legal Aid Society's work, and as to the direct results, I am sure that if the general public could know and sec, as do the society's agents and representatives, the multitude of cases of oppression and injustice that are relieved, there would be little doubt in anybody's mind that the Legal Aid Society is worthy of the support that it gets from those who have the best interests of the community at heart."
The society now has four offices with an attorney in charge of each. One of the most important branches of its work is that for seamen. The president's annual report, in speaking of this, says: "Seamen are strangers. They come from distant lands to stay here but a brief space of time. They bring ashore what little money they may have earned on their trips. The traps laid for just that money are innumerable. Once the money is taken from them they become merchandise that is bought and sold. At least such was the case until Mr. Abbott commenced to take their cases in charge. In view of the fact that New York is dependent upon its marine commerce, it should be understood that seamen who devote their lives to its service in this important particular are its wards."
Mr. von Briesen estimates that $5,000,000 are annually wrung from sea captains and sailors by various systems of extortion and swindling. The operations of one organized gang for this purpose are described as follows: “They bear down on every incoming tramp steamer and sailing ship, and, if possible, swarm on board after the approved style
of sea robbers. There usually is little difficulty in doing this. The captains are often more or less strangers to the port and readily fall into the error that the Jolly Roger gang is in some way official and make no objection to its members swarming over the ship's side. Once on board they make an onslaught on the crew, offering poor Jack glittering inducements to desert and go ashore for a good time. In very many cases, probably the majority, they succeed. Then, when the captain is ready to sail again he has no crew. The pirates have concealed his men and own them as they might own so many cattle. They have stripped the men of their money, and, in addition to that, have chained them down with all sorts of boarding-house debts. It is to these scoundrels that the captain must go if he wants to get a crew, and a round sum he must pay, generally $40 and upward a head. Of course this comes out of Jack in the end, being deducted from his wages.
“Very often the captains—and this applies to the captains of English vessels particularly-are simply in league with the pirates. They ship their men from the other side under a contract to pay them on their return to the shipping point at the end of the voyage. If the men desert meantime they forfeit all the pay they have earned on the passage out and the captains wish nothing better than to have them desert. It is cheaper for them to buy a crew of the piratical crimps than it would be to pay their own crew full wages at the end of the voyage. If the entire crew of a vessel which has sailed, say, from Liverpool, desert at this port, the captain has had his ship worked all the way here free of cost. He can then purchase a debtmortgaged crew to go back with and still have a liberal margin of plunder left to himself after paying the crimps their price."
An important branch of the society works in connection with the University Settlement among the poor on the East Side. A woman's branch has been organized, with headquarters at the United Charities Building, for the special purpose of rendering legal aid to women wage-earners.
Jubilee Congress of the Universal Association of Institutions for Mutual Help.-This association, founded by M. de Malarce, who is still its permanent secretary, held its twenty-fifth meeting at Paris, September 19–22, 1900. A large number of documents and reports relating to its work were brought together on this occasion. At the opening session Baron Tkint de Roodenberre, senator from Belgium, presided. The baron's father, now eighty-five years of age, has been for forty years a prominent member of the Permanent Superior Commission of Belgian Mutual Societies. General Porter, the American Ambassador, who is said to be greatly interested in the experimental
method of practical solutions for social problems, was present. There were also present many prominent practical philanthropists from France and other countries. After the opening exercises, a comprehensive historical report was presented by M. de Malarce upon “Progress of Mutual Benefit and Provident Societies in this Century.” The association does not vote any resolutions, but suggests reform measures and leaves each member free to accept or reject in accordance with his individual judgment. Only philanthropic societies were admitted to the congress, and only the work of such was discussed. Mutual benefit schemes, where there was any element of private profit, were classed as speculative and excluded from participation. It is to be hoped that the valuable reports prepared for this congress will be printed eventually in an English translation.
Charity Organization in Hartford, Connecticut.—The Hartford Charity Organization Society held its tenth annual meeting November 26, 1900. The occasion was made notable by the presentation of a review of the ten years' work prepared by the well-trained and efficient superintendent of the society, Dr. David I. Green. A few abstracts from Dr. Green's report may serve to bring out some of the distinctive work of the Hartford Society.
“The Charity Organization Society was established for the purpose of improving the administration of charity, and aimed to introduce and disseminate certain principles and methods which promised a more economical and effective use of relief funds and at the same time a real improvement in the condition of the poor. Two questions naturally arise at this time: Have the Charity Organization Society principles and methods been accepted in considerable measure, and if so has their acceptance brought about the improvement in social condi. tions that was hoped for by the promoters of the movement?
“Ten years ago recommendations were commonly accepted in place of investigations, and such investigations as were made often consisted of little more than a call at the home of the applicant, or an inquiry of some one to whom the applicant referred. It is not too much to say that the word investigation has come to have a fuller meaning to the Hartford public since the activity of this society began. It involves a friendly acquaintance, not only with the applicant, but with his family and its surroundings, with his relatives, his pastor, and the others who are interested in his welfare. That there was imperative need of thorough investigation of all applications was abundantly proved by the startling instances of misapplied charity, discovered at the beginning of this society's activity.
“The growth toward more careful methods has been continuous since that time on the part of both public and private charities. Not only