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Children at Work

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CHILDREN AT WORK And yet, even now, the census investigators of 1910 found nearly two million children engaged in "gainful occupations," more than one in six of the children between ten and sixteen years of age; so many, as Mr. Lewis W. Hine puts it, with the vivid ness of one of his photographs, that "the proces sion . . . would take five years to pass a given point if the children appeared at the rate of one a minute day and night,"—and that, too, with * Second Report of the New York Bureau of Labor Sta tistics, 1879.

out the children who work in the cranberry bogs of New Jersey, in the fruit and vegetable canneries of New York, in the berry fields of Maryland and Delaware—to mention only a few places where special inquiries have found large numbers of them in seasonal occupations which were not in opera tion in the month of April, when the census was taken. Three out of four of the children in the procession would come from the farms and dairies and lumber-camps, the ranches and oyster-beds and bee-hives and chicken-coops, which is less idyllic than it may sound. Most of the rest would come from kitchens and nurseries, factories, mills, machine-shops, and stores; quarries and mines; foundries and glass-works and printing-presses and sweat-shops; and from the streets, where they have been selling newspapers, blacking boots, driving grocery wagons, and running to and fro with tele grams and hat-boxes and proof and other things that must be carried quickly from one place to another. There would also be, scattered through the procession, eight postmasters fourteen and fif teen years old; three hundred and fifty-five little boys ten to thirteen years of age who were laborers on steam railroads; nineteen mail-carriers under fourteen and twenty-one school-teachers, not to mention two "jigger men and jolly men" in the potteries, a stationary engineer in an iron mine, three engineers on boats, four bakers and two baker esses, one hundred and fifty-one barbers and hair dressers, four compositors, three grocers, seven teen turfmen, five artists and seven photographers, five librarians' assistants, and three "other literary persons," ten music teachers, two surveyors, and one "other scientific person," one sexton, two hun dred and eleven nurses (" not trained"), and six "religious and charity workers," three of each sex.

Child labor still exists in America. There are even regularly employed wage-earners not yet ten years old—younger than those of whom I have just spoken. Investigators find them here and

there, and there are records of them on the in dividual schedules filled out by the census enu merators in 1910, though the tabulators have not bothered to count them up.

We hoped when the National Child Labor Com mittee was organized in 1904 that it would be able to accomplish its purpose and go out of existence after ten years if it worked hard. We are greatly disappointed that it has not. A great deal has been accomplished, but, as Dr. Felix Adler, who has been chairman of the Committee since the be ginning, said at the tenth annual meeting last year: Though there is more or less adequate legis lation in the great majority of the states, there are still enormous obstacles to be surmounted; indifference is to be turned into ardor, and laws that now lie cold in the statute-book as in a tomb are to be resurrected into the life of enforcement.

"The unexpected magnitude of child labor," to quote Dr. Samuel McCune Lindsay, the first sec retary of the Committee, "the stubbornness of the interests arrayed in its support—employers' profits, parental selfishness and indifference, and the child's aversion to, or the hopeless inadequacy or ineffec tiveness of educational opportunities—and the ease with which many forms of child labor eluded any known legislative restraint," have shown that the undertaking is greater than was anticipated. What has been accomplished in the decade, how ever, justifies the estimate of the present secretary, Mr. Owen R. Lovejoy, that child labor may be completely abolished "within the life of the present generation": We now know where child labor exists and in what forms. We know what forces must be opposed in seeking legislation. We have learned the importance of practical education for all children and how to cooperate with educators to promote it. We have been in strumental in setting on foot the most im portant public service ever rendered by the Federal Government, in the establishment of the Federal Children's Bureau. We are now at the door of Congress asking our Govern ment to outlaw traffic among the states in the products of child labor.* ' The reference is to the Palmer-Owen bill to exclude from inter-State commerce goods in the manufacture of which chil dren under fourteen had been employed. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a large majority, but did not reach a vote in the Senate in the Sixty-third Congress.

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