Page images
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[ocr errors]








Political Situation.




PLOUGHING THE SAND. After toiling all day we apparently get no further.






THE HOME POLICY OF THE NEW MINISTRY. THE general election which came upon us too suddenly, any exception, but which could hardly fail to benefit e passed too rapidly to enable any concerted action materially every department of our national life. :

to be taken by any but the party organisations. It In another field also the new 'national government is true, no doubt, that various manifestoes were emitted might well take a hint from the general principle defined by many Societies and Associations, but they counted for in the draft programme of the National Social Union. little in the strife. The battle was fought out for the The new Home Secretary, on entering into his duties at the most part on the great political issues, and the non- Home Office, found himself confronted by the criminal contentious questions which are always neglected at such statistics issued by his predecessor. These statistics times were hardly heard of. Those few persons who did illustrated by maps, afford what may be described as a venture to call attention to questions lying outside criminal diagnosis of the condition of the country. the fighting area felt themselves something like the Certain districts in these naps are coloured black, Derby dog at Epsom, so that there is very little to report which illustrates the excessive vice or crime in that as to the direct heckling of candidates. Several of our locality. Now why should not Sir Matthew White helpers, in response to a direct appeal, interrogated Ridley,. with these maps before him, summion a candidates as to their willingness to support a motion representative conference of all those responsible for placing a veto, by combined international consent, on for the good government of these lapsed regions. any further expenditure on armaments. But with that and endeavour to focus the best public opinion of exception very little was done. Mrs. Wolstenholme the district on the subject? Take, for instance, Sir Elmy reports on the question of women's suffrage that William Harcourt's new constituency and the régions the new House of Commous contains a majority of thereabout, which from the criminal point of view, occupy members pledged to the enfranchisement of her sex; but the worst position in these islands. Why should not the even if this be so, it is difficult to see how such a measure Home Secretary hold a high inquest, say, at Ebbw Vale, could be carried in the face of the fact that Mr. Chamber- Dowlais, or Cardiff, summoning before him the Chief lain and Sir Henry James, to say nothing of other Constable, Magistrates, Ministers of all denominations, notable Ministers, are strongly opposed to any such Employers of Labour, leading Trades Unionists and reform.

Landlords. Then he could represent to them the In the midst of the babel of voices that are raised on unenviable position in which their district stands before every side discussing what Lord Salisbury should do or the country, ask them to explain the cause of this should not do, there is one suggestion that I venture to and urge them to wipe off this reproach from the land. hope, with some confidence, may commend itself to the What might be done in South Wales with regard to crime Prime Minister and his colleagues. That is, that for a might be done in the northern counties with regard to year or two, at any rate, Her Majesty's Ministers drunkenness. The dominant idea should always be that should adopt as their rule in relation to all social Her Majesty's Government is responsible for seeing that legislation, the principle on which the National Social the whole of Her Majesty's dominions, are brought up to Union is founded. For years past Committees have as high a level as possible, and that when any particular been sitting and Commissions reporting upon various district distinctly lapses below the average level, it is the improvements which should be effected in the law duty of Her Majesty's Government to concentrate all the or" in its administration, and the pigeon-holes of moral forces of the nation and of the district in raising the departments are cumbered with resolutions and that sunken district to the average level. This policy recommendations which have been drawn up as the would be original, it would be simple, and it would be result of careful examination and prolonged consideration practicable. Why should it not be adopted ? of evils from which the body politic has long been suffering. Now why can Her Majesty's Ministers not lay down

THE GOVERNMENT AND THE UNEMPLOYED. as their principle for social legislation for the next two

MEMORIAL FROM SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS. years, that they will refuse resolutely to embark upon TRADE is said to be reviving, and the season is as far any contentious matters, and concentrate all their as possible removed from the severe weather which worked energies upon giving effect to those recommendations such havoc last winter. But even now many of the which command the unanimous approval of all competent London workhouses are full, and anxious guardians are authorities? Nothing would be more in accord with negotiating with country unions for accommodation for the general mood of the nation than the adoption their overflow of inmates. And the prospect for next of such a policy. If all contentious matter were winter already fills the minds of the more thoughtful with adjourned for two years, and we had two sessions serious foreboding. In view of these facts, it is interestfor carrying Bills, as to the need of which everying to learn that the Hea:Is of Settlements in the east one is agreed, Ministers would do more for the social and south of London have memorialised the Prime welfare of the people than they could effect by half-a- Minister on the subject of the unemployed. It will be dozen sessions devoted to party wrangling. If Lord remembered that the Marquis of Salisbury, speaking at Salisbury were to appoint a small Committee of the Bradford on May 22, put this question first in the list of Cabinet to prepare a précis of all the recommendations social problems which he offered as a substitute for the made by Royal Commissions, Select Committees, Depart. Liberal programme, with its insistence on Home Rule mental Committees, say, in the last ten years, together and Disestablishment first. His words were :with the Bills introduced by the various departments

Are there no things which in these days we wish Parliament which have not been passed into law, he would be able to to consider ? It seems to me that we have come upon a time confront the November Cabinet with a programme, vast, when there are more difficult problems facing those who varied, and comprehensive, to which no one could take have to guide the counsels of the people than have happened

for many a generation. You know how the difficulty of the Unemployed is rising in the south. There are vast nasses of men who have no evil will, against whom no harm can be stated, who have only this one wish, this one demandthat the labour which they are prepared to give should be accepted, and bare sustenance given them in place of it, and to whom it has been necessary from sheer want of employment to give in return a disappointing answer. We pass those things over, we express them in brief language; as the information flies rapidly under our eyes we do not take notice of what misery, what despair to men, what utter despair to women and children, what physical suffering is involved in those frightful facts. I feel that as long as the problem of the Unemployed presents to us the features shown to us during the last winter we cannot say that our conscience as statesmen and politicians is discharged if we do not vote for an attempt, at all events, to solve them with the utmost energy in our power.

This emphatic utterance has been rendered doubly significant by the subsequent accession of the Marquis to place and power with an unexampled majority behind him in both Houses of Parliament. “The memorial which it suggested and which was mooted, though not signed before the General Election, runs as follows:

To the Most Honourable the Marquis of Salisbury. Will your lordship kindly permit us as persons engaged in social service of the poor of London to express the pleasure with which we observed your lordship's utterances at Bradford on May 22nd, which placed foremost among the questions to be dealt with by Parliament the problem of the unemployed ?

We hail with delight the expression of your lordship's conviction that it is a problem which forms a heavy charge upon the conscience of politicians and statesmen, and which demands for its solution their utmost endeavours.

Now that your lordship has been called to the position of IIer Majesty's chicf adviser, we welcome with sincere joy the prospect of legislative effect being given to those words.

Though belonging to different parties of the State, we beg unitedly to convey to your lordship our earnest hope and desire that no exigency of party conflict or ordinary governmental routine will prevent your lordship giving prominence to this problem in the action of your Government on the earliest possible occasion. (Signed)

SAMUEL A. BARNETT, Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel,
A. F. N. INGRAM, Oxford House, Bethnal Green.
PERCY ALDEN, Mansfield House, Canning Town.
J. SCOTT LIDGETT, Bermondsey University Settlement.
F. HERBERT STEAD, Robert Browning Hall, Walworth.

A PENNY FELLOWSHIP SOCIETY. AMONG other good works which our Helper in Newcastle has started, is the Penny Fellowship Society. The object of this Society, which was formed in 1893, is to provide a holiday for indigent gentlewomen, either at the seaside or in the country. The constitution of the Society is very simple. It consists of a number of friends who agree to pay a penny a week in order to send two or three gentlewomen every year to the seaside. Besides this subscription the members meet every week for a social evening, when the money is collected and any business of the Society transacted. Last year, by this means, they raised a sum of about ten pounds, and were able to board and lodge three gentlewomen for a fortnight, two for a week, and sent fifteen more to lodgings simply. The membership a year ago was only twenty-three, but has since grown to forty-three. This is an excellent example which deserves to be much more widely known. It is a good object-lesson as to what branches of the National Social Union could do in this direction, and it is to be hoped that some of them may follow the example of Newcastle. There is no reason why these Penny Fellowship Societies should not be

formed amongst groups of friends in all our large towns, and it is an idea which the Country Holidays for Children Association might do well to adopt. Any one who wishes for further information on the subject should write to our Helper, Miss Wilson, 10, Ravensworth Terrace, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

HOLIDAY ENCAMPMENTS. EVERY August witnesses a renewed and strengthened reversion to the nomadic habits of our ancestors; and the custom of camping out seems to be extending to all classes. Black and White tells how boys of the middleclass at a school near Loudon are taught to take their holidays in camp:

It is provided in the rules that the first year of every bo shall be spent entirely under the masters' charge. During the holidays, therefore, masters and pupils go into camp by the sea for five or six weeks. The boys set out with a couple of waggons loaded with tents, baggage and provisions; and travel by road to their destination, often eighty or a hundred miles away. The journey occupies about three days, meals are prepared en route, and a halt is made in the evening at some convenient spot, where tents are pitched. In the early morning the tents are struck, horses are harnessed, and after breakfast in the open, the march is resumed. Lads rejoicing in bicycles form an advance party, which proceeds in search of suitable camping-ground and the like. The encampment itself is invariably close to the shore, and care is taken to secure dry soil and good water. It goes without saying that servants are not allowed in camp, and that the youngsters erect tents, cook, attend to the boats and generally supply all their own wants. Daily routine, which is by no means dull, is steadily maintained, and work is shared equally. Bugle calls proclaim the “Rouse" in the morning, the various meal hours, and “Lights Out" at night. During the day there are many recreations : rowing, sailing and swimming prove the chief attractions, but cricket, football, tennis and fishing are also popular. It is altogether a never-to-be-forgotten month to the lads . . . The camp this year is to be situated on a desirable spot not far from Dover . . . Any who care to possess details as to the experiment may obtain information at the Glebelands, Mitcham, Surrey.

A camp for working men and working women is an experiment which has been undertaken this month by the Robert Browning Hall Social Settlement, Walworth. The place of encampment is the Court Farm, Whyteleafe, near Warlingham, a beautiful rural eminence, in one of the most charming parts of Surrey. Sleeping quarters are provided for the men in a large barn, while the women are accommodated in a more convenient room in another part of the farm. The bedding in both cases is of a very simple but comfortable kind. All meals are in common. The charges, inclusive of railway fare, board and lodging are of the lowest: for two days and nights, 4s. 6d.; for seven days, lls.; for the ten days during which the camp is running (August 2nd to 12th), 13s. The scheme is a development of the idea already carried out for many years with marked success by the Glasgow Foundry Boys' Society in their encampments for young men and young women on the west coast of Scotland.

Rev. Alec. S. Campbell, M.A., Congregational minister of Morecambe, is busy with the formation of a standing camp at a spot close to the coast for the use of the poor working people in the large towns of Lancashire and the West Riding. He has appealed for help in defraying the initial expenses to the philanthropic public of these counties. It is sincerely to be hoped that his appeal will be promptly and generously responded to.

The movement for planting these rural and seaside camps is as yet in its infancy. In time we may hope to see them vastly increased in number and cheapened in cost.

« PreviousContinue »