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the plan would have been adopted throughout Germany had the wars of the French Republic and Empire not checked educational progress. In spite of the ignorance of the Prussian department the Consul General finds a few school gardens in Prussia but concludes that on the whole the movement to extend this branch of education cannot be said to have attained an importance at all proportionate with the high and rapid growth of German education in other branches of study. In Sweden, Austria, France and Switzerland, however, which countries lie beyond the boundaries of his immediate consular district, the writer discovers several thousand school gardens.
That the subject is one which suggests conditions other than what appear upon the surface is obvious from the following statements:
"Agriculture is at best a precarious pursuit in Germany, where land is costly, exhausted by centuries of cultivation, and dependent for productiveness upon expensive and constant manuring. Seasons are uncertain, and every agricultural product except fresh vegetables is exposed to the competition of products imported from countries where the conditions of growth are more favorable than here. For these reasons, the educational energy of this country has been turned into the branches of study that will give the people higher efficiency in manufacture and commerce, with what conspicuous results the present splendid industrial prosperity of the German people abundantly testifies."
The report contains some interesting information, but it would reflect greater credit upon the department if the instruction had been more definite and if there had been some indication as to who desired the information called for and the practical purposes which the reports would be expected to serve.
Social Reform in New York.-The citizens of the State of New York who are interested in legislation on social and charitable subjects will find their work for the present winter chiefly in watching the course of the legislature in reference to certain recommendations made by the new governor, in the discussion of the report of the charter revision commission and in the consideration of the report of the tenement house commission.
In his message to the legislature Governor Odell proposed the virtual abolition of the state board of charities and the substitution of a single salaried commissioner. In deference to a constitutional provision that there must be a state board of charities, the governor suggested that there should be associated with the commissioner two other state officials, to be designated by the governor from a list to be enumerated in the new statute reorganizing the board. A similar change was proposed for the prison commission, and it was recommended that the bureau of labor statistics, the board of mediation and arbitration and the department of factory inspection be consolidated in the new department of labor. All these, with other changes,
were recommended in the interests of economy. The Consumers' League has made a vigorous protest against the recommendation in regard to the department of labor and especially against the accompanying recommendation of a reduction in the number of inspectors. The function of the department of factory inspection of the State of New York is a matter of national importance because the products of the garment workshops of this state (for the wholesome condition of which the department is responsible) are sold in every state and territory in the United States.
From the nature of the work to be done, the duties of the factory inspectors and the bureau of labor statistics actively conflict, because the gatherers of statistics of wages must have access to the books of employing firms and must have interviews with the employers on an entirely different basis from that of the factory inspectors, whose sole function should be to enforce upon all parties obedience to the laws of the state. It is essential to the efficiency of the work that the factory inspectors be kept entirely independent of all other departments of the government, because, they, themselves, form an executive branch of the government, charged with the duty of prosecuting violators of the law.
In the opinion of the Consumers' League of the City of New York, the economy which the present situation demands in relation to the department of factory inspection consists in raising it to the highest efficiency; by giving it thoroughly able and efficient persons in the positions of chief inspector, assistant inspector and licensing inspector; an adequate staff of deputy inspectors and sufficient funds wherewith to perform its extremely important and far-reaching duties.
An even more emphatic protest is made by the charitable societies against the proposition to reorganize the state board of charities. A statement prepared on behalf of several of the leading societies of New York City points out that there is no economy in the proposed plan; that the measure would destroy the non-political character of the board and would tend to introduce partisan politics into the management of the public and semi-public institutions of the city; that the present system has protected these institutions from the influence of partisan politics for the reason that the present board is slowly changing and practically unpaid; that the present system has resulted in important economies, in the construction and management of state and local institutions (at least a million dollars has been saved by the operation of the rules of the state board of charities in regard to dependent children); and that the composition of the board as proposed is vicious. The single commissioner, who might be an expert, could be out-voted by the two other members of the board who were
elected to devote their time and energies to other matters. The experience of other states with small paid boards has indicated that a board consisting of several members serving without compensation or with small compensation is safest and most useful. Such are the boards existing under slightly varying designation in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and other states. The principal point raised in the statement issued by the societies is that the board should remain a deliberative body. The powers of the board regarding the reception and retention of children as public charges in charitable and reformatory institutions inevitably influence the religious and moral training which such children are to receive, and determine to some extent the character of the entire environment of the helpless wards of the state. At what age children are to cease to be public charges, under what conditions they may be transferred from one institution to another, under what conditions they may be placed out in foster homes, whether suitable hygienic and physical conditions are present, and numerous other similarly vital considerations are partly subject to regulation by the board and partly determined by statutes for the execution of which the state board of charities is in large part responsible. Under the present form of organization no change in the rules or methods of the board can be made except after discussion by members who represent diverse views and diverse interests.
The chapter relating to the Department of Public Charities in the bill embodying the recommendations of the Charter Revision Commission is excellent. It provides for a single commissioner for the entire department, instead of three commissioners with distinct territorial jurisdiction, as at present; for a children's court and for the separation of the principal public hospitals from the charities department and the creation of a department of public hospitals. Concerning the last of these three propositions expert opinion is divided. The plan recommended by the commission is for an unpaid board of seven members, of whom one is to retire each year. Under this board there would be a salaried director with large administrative powers. There are numerous minor changes for the better in the charities chapter and in the chapter relating to the department of correction. The commission recommends the complete reorganization of the police department, but it is probable that the legislature will have passed a separate act for the government of this department before much attention is given to the report of the commission as a whole.
The Death Penalty as a Preventive of Crime.-In at least six states there has been recent active discussion of the death penalty for murder. In Kansas and Colorado it is proposed to introduce capital
punishment. In these two states atrocious lynchings have given the opportunity to believers in capital punishment to say that if the law had been operative the lynchings would not have occurred. In Massachusetts and New York, on the other hand, there is a movement, which in Massachusetts at least has strong backing, to abolish the death penalty. The governor of Kansas is reported to have said that the lynching in that state will almost certainly result in a return to capital punishment. The attorney-general of Massachusetts insists that the punishment of murder by death does not tend to prevent or diminish that crime, and that the infliction of the death penalty is not in accord with present civilization; that it is a relic of barbarism which the community must certainly outgrow, as it has already outgrown the rack, the whipping-post and the stake. In Wisconsin a bill has been introduced providing capital punishment for certain degrees of homicide. In Maine also, where capital punishment was abolished in 1887, there is pending a bill to re-establish it. The state librarian has published a leaflet detailing the experience of the state on the subject. The salient points of this history are reproduced as likely to be of peculiar interest in view of the present widespread discussion.
In 1820 the crimes of treason, murder, arson, rape, burglary and robbery from the person by violence, were punishable with death by hanging. In 1829 the penalty for burglary, rape and robbery was reduced to imprisonment for life. In 1837 the law was further modified so that one convicted of murder and sentenced to be hanged, should be confined in the state prison a year and a day, before execution, and until a full record of the proceedings had been submitted to the executive, and until such time as the executive should issue his warrant ordering the execution.
In 1844 the law was further modified, requiring that all persons under sentence of death, should suffer solitary confinement and hard labor in the state prison, until such sentence was carried into effect.
It will be seen that by the law of 1837, the execution of the death penalty was, in a measure, left to the discretion of the executive, since there was no limit of time within which he was, by law, compelled to issue his warrant of execution. The responsibility thus created was so great and the sentiment against the death penalty so active and aggressive, that there was no execution in this state for nearly thirty years.
In 1867, the governor called the attention of the legislature to the fact that there were ten persons under sentence of death, confined in the state prison, one of whom had been there over twenty years. He suggested that the penalty be abolished, or the law so changed as to require the governor to issue his warrant of execution within a time
certain and fixed. In 1869 a law was enacted requiring the governor and council to review the finding of the court in cases of conviction and sentence of death, and commute, pardon or cause the prisoner to be executed within a certain length of time after the date of the original sentence.
In 1870, and again in 1874, the governor entered his protest against the law of 1869, declaring his belief that it was unconstitutional, since it imposed juridical functions upon the executive department.
In 1875 the legislature amended the law of 1869, so that the governor was required to issue a warrant of execution within fifteen months of the date of sentence. In 1876 the death penalty was abolished altogether. In 1883 the death penalty for murder alone was re-established. In 1885 the governor, referring to the death penalty, remarked that there had been an unusual number of cold-blooded murders within the state during the two years last passed, and that the change in the law relating to murder had not afforded the protection anticipated. In 1887 the death penalty was again abolished.
The strong minority opposed to the death penalty had much to do with its non-enforcement from 1837 to 1867, and the enforcement of the law from the latter date until 1876 had more to do with its abolition; since the executions during this period awakened discussion and debate upon the subject, and brought the people face to face with their responsibility and duty in the matter. Professor Upham, of Bowdoin College, and Rev. Sylvester Judd, of Augusta, Me., by their speeches and written arguments against capital punishment, created a deep-seated and widespread sentiment in the minds of the people against this mode of punishment. The Society of Friends within the state were ever urging in their petitions to the legislature for the abolition of the death penalty. The sentiment of the people is now so strongly against capital punishment that it is predicted that the law will never again be enacted in Maine.
On the general question as to whether the abolition of the death sentence would lead to lynching, it is possible to secure evidence. The question is whether the abolition of capital punishment in Maine, Wisconsin and Michigan, in Switzerland, in Italy and in Russia has stimulated lynching. The negative answer is very positive. It can even be shown that the number of murders has not increased. On the contrary, in most countries where capital punishment has been abolished it has decreased. There is another pertinent question, viz.: What relation does the number of indictments for murder bear to the number of convictions for murder in countries where the death penalty exists, and in countries where the death penalty does not exist? It would be difficult to obtain accurate statistics on this subject, but the