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are thousands of boys in the cities of this country, who if not employed at some useful thing, are generally on the streets or in the alleys, in the downtown public pool rooms, and bowling alleys, engaged not always in wholesome play, but too often in idling, cigarette smoking, and dirty-story telling, with absolutely no thought of work or the serious side of life. They are too constantly occupied with thoughts of “having a good time” and some rather perverted notions of what a good time is. Too many of our boys, especially reach the age of moral
and legal responsibility without the slightest conception of work. They are too often more concerned as to how much they earn than how well they do their work. In dealing with a certain class of youth in the juvenile court, I say without hesitation, that the most hopeless fellow in the world is the boy who will not work, the boy who has not learned how to work or to know the value and importance of work. There is always hope for the boy who works, especially the boy who likes to work.”
Judge Frank M. Trexler, of the superior court of Pennsylvania, says: “As president of the State Juvenile Court and Probation Association, I have for some years been interested in the problems presented, and an experience of 11 years on the common pleas bench, in which time under the law, I had all of the juvenile court work of the county, has brought me to the conclusion that there should be some provision made by which the child under the age of 14 may, under proper safeguards, be employed during vacation time and in some cases after school hours and on Saturday.”
Mrs. Charles Gilpin, jr., one of the vice presidents of the Philadelphia Juvenile Court and Probation Association since 1903, and also chairman of the Mothers' Assistance Fund, in Philadelphia, who has had much direct experience with the conditions which make proper employment desirable for children, also emphasizes the value of these points.
I want to emphasize one point very strongly: That is, that the kind of employment permissible for children under 14 in vacations should be left to the discretion of the school and medical authorities of the district in which the child lives. The opportunities for the temporary employment desired in vacation are absolutely different in different localities, and are best understood by the people who live in those localities instead of by persons who know nothing of the conditions and opportunities.
There is less danger, to my mind, of children being injured by overwork than there ever was. It goes without saying that every sane person would want to save children from overwork; but it is positively wicked, to my mind, to prevent a rising generation from having the character building that comes from occupation. The National Congress of Mothers, through their work, I think, are doing an enormous amount of good in educating parents all over the United States, and I think that every year the people themselves are less and less liable to harm children by overwork.
Senator ROBINSON. May I ask a question, please? Have you made a study of the conditions of child labor in mines, quarries, factories, and other manufacturing establishments, or are your remarks directed geenrally to the lot of children engaged in labor!
Miss GARRETT. What I want to get away from is uniform legislation for all our States, such as you describe, and the same sort of
legislation for every State. I feel that wherever there is any overwork in any factories anywhere that ought to be prevented by the States themselves, and they ought to be educated up to the point of doing it. I have made a sufficient study to know that those conditions are improving.
Senator ROBINSON. That is undoubtedly true, but what I wanted to know was whether your remarks were directed against the general proposition of forbidding children to labor, or to the particular effects of this bill. I suppose you are familiar with the bill?
Miss GARRETT. I have read the bill, and that is what I fear-uniform Federal legislation for all our States.
The CHAIRMAN. You are aware that the bill applies only to certain vocations?
Miss GARRETT. Yes; but it is Federal legislation, just the same, and we fear that.
Senator ROBINSON. Why?
Miss GARRETT. You have an age there. The chronological test of the child's ability to work for the varying climates and industrial conditions of the various States is not for the best individual interests of the child. I have been over 20 years living with children, mother fashion. I know it is not a fair test. I have in mind a boy who is only 14 years old, to my knowledge, and if he were here every one of you would believe him to be 17. He has been examined by our surgeon, for my own information and satisfaction, and he says that his muscles and every part of him is able to do hard work. I only bring that point up to show that the chronological test is a very poor test.
Senator ROBINSON. Is it your position that if the State or community desires to do it, it should be permitted to authorize children to work indefinitely and at any age ?
Miss GARRETT. No. I stated, if you remember, that I thought the permissibility for a child to work should be decided by the health authorities and the school authorities where that child lives.
Senator ROBINSON. And in the case of each particular child ?
Senator ROBINSON. No child ought to be permitted to work at the age of 6 years? Miss GARRETT. No; that is extreme.
Senator ROBINSON. Do you favor placing any age limitation whatever?
Miss GARRETT. I don't want to commit myself on that, because I don't want to do that, but I do say that the chronological test is not a good one.
Senator ROBINSON. What test do you regard as the best? Miss GARRETT. Whatever the medical and the school authorities think. That saves the child's education. The States themselves are studying these questions, and if the school authorities or the medical authorities are not fair to the children, they will know it in those places. It is impossible for a Federal law to cover conditions in every State fairly to every child.
Senator ROBINSON. I am sure of that, too.
Miss GARRETT. I have lived, as I have said, for over 20 years with successive numbers of young deaf children
Senator ROBINSON (interrupting). You don't think there ought to be any Federal legislation on that subject at all?
Miss GARRETT. I do not. I ask you to postpone it. I don't want to appear here as antagonistic to anything, but I do ask that the thing be postponed so that further study, that is going on vigorously, I am sure, can be given the question. This is the age of the child, and everybody is waking up to it; but there is a good deal of sentimental talk about certain things that are not well digested, and I don't see how the child can suffer when you see what the mothers' congress is doing to save them.
Senator ROBINSON. Do children work in factories in Philadelphia ?
Miss GARRETT. No; not under 14 years. I can read you Mother Munro's letter from that district. She is a thrifty Scotch woman, who lives in the mill district and works to help the people to make the best of the money that they earn, and tries to teach them important things which they do not already know. She says: “ You know I am in the midst of the working class, and I know their condition. They have not so very hard work, and you know, as a rule, they come from large families and must work to help bring up the others. A position during vacation is also very much needed. Many a mother has cried to me and said, 'Mother Munro, I hate to see vacation time coming, for my boys and girls will be in all kinds of trouble, and will be on the street from morning until night, and my heart will be broken.' I could tell you of many cases where the downfall of the boy has dated from the time when he had nothing to do but stand at the corner with older boys and men and learn from them the things that he put into practice. Now, if at this age he had something to do not too hard, you know—he would at least have been able to withstand the temptations a little better and his mind would have been employed part of the time, and I am sure his dear mother would have had less heartache. I could give you case upon case on this subject, and all can be traced to idleness.
It should be thoroughly well known that the working classes have very much larger families than the other classes. A contributing factor to this condition is that two religious bodies, Roman Catholic and Jewish, conscientiously believe that parents should all have large families. The other classes composing our population, as a rule, have a smaller number of children. Resulting from these conditions, gainful occupations are necessary to the working classes in a greater degree than to the children of the other classes, and idleness among these people which has been proved to lead to crime may threaten the next generation through preponderance of numbers. Justice to all classes requires that children should be trained from an early age in habits of industry, and even in some gainful occupations, without, of course, overworking any child.
The CHAIRMAN. Your observation, Miss Garrett, is that the training of children should not be entirely a training of the head, and that there could be a training of the hand and the eye in vocations that could be pursued at an earlier age than 14!
Miss GARRETT. That is entirely my contention, Senator Newlands, and you can see it is supported by educators, by the authorities whom I have quoted, most of whom have written articles to educate parents.
and on other problems on this subject. Of course I have lived in the position of a parent for these deaf children, and I don't see how anyone who seriously studies the problem and studies the child can help realizing that idleness is the worst thing that can happen to them.
Senator CUMMINS. This bill would affect Pennsylvania only in this respect: That there is no provision against children working, excepting between 14 and 16, more than eight hours a day, and Pennsylvania has no such prohibition in its law.
Miss GARRETT. But in the law that went into effect on the 1st of January it prevents occupation to all children under 14. Children under 14 can't have any occupation, excepting selling newspapers, when they are over 12 years of age.
Senator LIPPITT. Can they work on the farm?
Miss GARRETT. Agricultural and domestic; yes. It seems to me that children can be just as much abused in agriculture and domestic work by unscrupulous persons, and have been, as in any other occupation.
Senator LIPPITT. Do you consider work in factories particularly objectionable for children?
Miss GARRETT. That depends. I have no interest in any manufacturer, but I don't think it is fair to refer to manufacturers as a race of criminals, as they are generally referred to in this agitation. I think they are more and more measuring up'to the trend of public opinion at this time. Of course nothing is more important to conserve than children.
Senator CUMMINS. I was trying to bring to your mind the fact that this law would not affect Pennsylvania save that it would prevent the working of children more than eight hours a day; otherwise the law of Pennsylvania is more rigid.
Miss GARRETT. I am not considering only the law of Pennsylvania ; I am speaking for the children of the United States.
Senator CUMMINS. Otherwise it would not affect your community in any way
Miss GARRETT. No. I am thinking of the children of the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. You are aware, are you not, that thus far no one has appeared to present the views that you have given ? You are 'the first.
Miss_GARRETT. I don't know anybody who did, Senator Newlands; I feel it my duty to, though.
Thé CHAIRMAN. This matter has been under discussion for some time. Various child-labor bills have been presented, and as yet the mothers or the representatives of the mothers' congress have not appeared apparently.
Miss GARRETT. They have waited patiently to be notified of an opportunity to be heard. And the good Lord put it into my mind you were interested in children, and I wrote you that letter the other day.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to call your attention also to the fact that this matter has been submitted; the hearing has been closed, and there seems to be a very strenuous demand from the outside that this legislation should go on; I am receiving letters from female colleges signed by numerous students, and associations of various kinds, urging this legislation, some of them insinuating that the legislation
is being held up for some sinister motive. Now, is there any way of your getting quickly an expression from such an organization as the mothers' congress upon this subject?
Miss GARRETT. We are waiting to give it to you. Mrs. Birney is chairman of the child-labor department in the National Congress of Mothers.
The CHAIRMAN. What responsible position do you hold with reference to this question?
Miss GARRETT. I am vice chairman of Mrs. Birney's department in the National Congress of Mothers.
The CHAIRMAN. You are also a member of some court, are you not?
Miss GARRETT. Yes; I am a member of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court and Probation Association of which Judge Frank M. Trexler, of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, is the president. I have been working for children for a great many years.
The CHAIRMAN. And a member of the Philadelphia Juvenile Court and Probation Association?
Miss GARRETT. Yes; and Judge John M. Patterson is president of it. For eight years after the juvenile court laws were enacted in Pennsylvania this association, through religious associations, Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish, and through women's clubs, raised the money to pay the salaries of the probation officers in Philadelphia to keep it out of politics. During these eight years the judges appointed the probation officers whom we recommended, and with whom representatives of our association met regularly to study and discuss their cases with them. During this time we learned much of the conditions of unfortunate children and what is necessary to help them. Then a law was gotten through requiring the probation officers to be paid by the State.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you connected with people who are engaged in this work as a life work? Of training children both in character and vocation?
Miss GARRETT. I have been in that business for over 20 years and I am connected with many who are interested in that subject.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the sentiment of those people with which you are connected on the subject of this bill ?
Miss GARRETT. Just the same as my own; entirely disinterested people.
Senator LIPPITT. Why is it that these people that you represent and say have the same opinion that you have in regard to this subject haven't made that opinion more evident to Members of Congress? What the chairman says about being urged to pass this bill is my experience as well as his, and I expect it is the experience of every man on this committee. I suppose I have received a stack of petitions a foot high, signed by various people, urging the passage of this bill-largely women and I must confess that the character of the petitions rather suggested to me that the people were not fairly posted on the subject; nevertheless, I have received no petitions, so far as I know, against this bill.
Miss GARRETT. I am as much surprised as you are, because I can not understand why these people have not made some effort to do something, and it was in desperation that I made a personal effort because they haven't done anything.