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ACTS AND RESOLVES OF THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS, CHAP. 475, OF 1895.
AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF TEXTILE SCHOOLS.
Be it enacted, etc., as follows:
SECTION I. In any city of this Commonwealth whose mayor Establishment shall, on or before the first day of July, in the year eighteen hun. of textile
schools in dred and ninety-five, file a certificate with the commissioner of
cities. corporations that said city has in operation four hundred and fifty thousand or more spindles,* not less than seven nor more than twenty persons, citizens of this Commonwealth, may associate themselves together by an agreement in writing for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a TEXTILE SCHOOL for instruction in the THEORY and PRACTICAL ART of textile and kindred branches of industry, with authority to take, by gift or purchase, and hold personal and real estate to the amount of three hundred thousand dollars. A copy of said agreement and of the signatures thereto, sworn to by any one of the subscribers, shall be submitted to the governor; and, if he shall certify his approval of the associates as suitable for the purposes of their association and of this act, said associates shall, for said purposes, after due and proper organization by the adoption of by-laws and the election of officers, and after filing a certificate of such organization and the certificate of the approval of the governor with the secretary of the Commonwealth, be and remain a corporation, with all the powers and privileges and subject to all the duties and obligations of corporations organized for educational purposes under chapter one hundred and fifteen of the Public Statutes. Said corporation shall be known as the Trustees of the Textile School of the place in which it is located, and shall have power to fill all vacancies in their number, however occurring, except as otherwise provided in this act. There shall be only one school incorporated under the provisions of this act in one city.
Sect. 2. Any city in which such a corporation is organized City may apmay appropriate and pay to said corporation a sum of money not propriate a
certain sum, to exceed, in any case, the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars; and upon the appropriation and payment of said sum, or any part thereof, by any such city, the mayor and superintendent of schools of such city for the time being shall be and become members of said corporation, and the mayor and superintendent of schools of such city shall thereafter be members of such corporation.
*Only Lowell and New Bedford filed certificates.
Certain sum to be paid from treasury of the Commonwealth,
SECT. 3. Whenever any such city shall appropriate and pay to any such corporation any sum of money, or whenever the trustees or members of any such corporation shall pay into its treasury, for the purposes of the establishment and maintenance of such school, any sum of money, there shall be appropriated and paid to said corporation from the treasury of the Commonwealth a sum of money equal to the total amount thus appropriated and paid ; but in no case shall there be paid to any such corporation by the Commonwealth any sum of money exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars, and upon the appropriation and payment of any sum of money by the Commonwealth for the purposes of any such school the governor shall, with the advice and consent of the council, appoint two persons to be members and trustees of any such corporation for two and four years respectively, and thereafter such persons and their successors by similar appointment shall be and remain members of said corporation. The governor, with the advice and consent of the council, shall fill all vacancies however occurring in the membership created by this section.
Sect. 4. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
THE GEORGE JUNIOR REPUBLIC.
BY PROFESSOR J. W. JENKS, OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.
[Abstract of an address delivered Friday morning.)
In 1890 and the four years following Mr. W. R. George took some boys and girls from the poorer classes of New York City to Freeville for a summer vacation. His experience in managing them during these years gave him the idea of forming them into a self-governing republic, and in 1895 the Republic was formed.
There have been present each summer from 130 to 170 children, aged from ten to twenty years, and for the last year some 30 during the winter also, many of them from the criminal classes, and practically all of them from what is called the “submerged tenth.”
Mr. George's plan is to put the children so far as possible into the conditions of real adult life, by throwing upon them individually the entire responsibility of earning their own living and governing themselves. Of course, provision is made so that anyone who wishes work will not fail to have work. The farm on which the Republic is situated contains about fifty acres, and many of the boys work on the farm; others work in the shop where they are taught the elements of carpentry; others are given work in making roads and paths, digging ditches, cleaning grounds, etc., while others find employment in the restaurants and lodging-houses, and the girls in the sewing, millinery, cooking, and other classes. Wages are paid in Republic money stamped out of tin, which is also received by the Republic for everything furnished the children.
Each child pays for everything he receives. During the first year of the Republic there was a "pauper” table, so that the lazy at times were supported by the thrifty ; but the second year the legislature passed an act declaring that “no tax shall be levied for the support of the boy or girl who can work and won't.” The idle boy or girl is compelled by necessity to earn his living as soon as his credit among the other children is exhausted. Foolish children, who spend their money on candy and fruit offered them by the shrewder children at high prices, not unfrequently have to go without their meals; and at times a boy sleeps in the police
station, and then breaks stone on the stone pile for three hours the next day to pay for his lodging, because he has spent the money foolishly which he should have kept for his bed at the “hotel.”
The constitution of the Republic declares that the “citizens” are under the Constitution of the United States and that of the State of New York and that their laws are those of the United States and of the State of New York, supplemented by such laws as the Republic itself may pass. The children above the age of twelve have the right to vote. A "House of Representatives" is chosen weekly, and a "Senate" bi-weekly, the “House" in the proportion of about one to twenty, and the “Senate” of about one to thirty citizens. The President of the Republic, chosen from among the boys themselves, for a period of one year, does not hesitate to veto bills which he considers injurious. Laws have been passed by the legislature forbidding gambling, and the use of tobacco; and a special tariff of 35 per cent. on candy and apples brought into the Republic has been levied, as well as special personal taxes.
The children have instituted a Board of Health to inspect the rooms, beds, etc., and have appointed a committee of investigation to see that prisoners are properly treated, and that the jail is kept in good condition. Cleanliness is secured not merely by the Board of Health, but by special regulations providing that baths shall be taken regularly. The self-restraint of the legislators is shown by the fact that a bill which passed the “House " permitting citizens to stay out till eleven o'clock at night was voted down in the Senate.
Laws are enforced by courts and an efficient police force. Arrests for distur nce of the peace, fighting, and for other misdemeanors, as well as for petty theft and small crimes, are likely to be common early in the season, but become rare later on, after the efficiency of the courts has been proved. A sentence to the workhouse is no trifling matter, for it means that the prisoner must work hard all day under guard, can get no pay except the simplest kind of food, and gets little sympathy from the better class of "citizens"; while a boy who commits a crime, besides the punishment mentioned above, must undergo the disgrace of wearing stripes and having to perform severe labor under harder conditions.
The chief interest of the Republic, perhaps, is to be seen by viewing it in its pedagogical aspect. In this regard it seems to be
sound. The children learn their lessons by experience; and, as in life, they find out that they must take the consequences of their acts. They become self-reliant; and, as some of them have expressed it, they can “figger out that it costs more to be bad den good.” The system teaches thrift. The foolishness of spending their last few cents for trifling luxuries appears, when the consequence is the loss of a supper or a night in the station-house with some hours' work on the stone pile. And this lesson is not given simply by word of mouth, but is impressed day by day so long as the child remains a "citizen" of the Republic. The lessons received are practical and moral in their tendencies; and the child learns to see things as they are in actual life far more easily and clearly than he can see them in the society of adults, for public opinion among children is more direct and more frank in its expression than among adults. Best of all, perhaps, is the respect for law that is inculcated, and that comes naturally when the children themselves are the law-makers. In real life it is largely contempt for laws that makes our slums and that gives us our "toughs" and anarchists. Contempt for law is the beginning of barbarism; and, as has been said, “in the contest with barbarism the George Junior Republic has taken its stand on the side of good government and patriotism."
Some social questions receive a peculiar illustration in this children's republic. The evils of competition as shown by the success of the contractor and of the speculator appeared very clearly last year; but, odd as it may seem, the socialist could derive little comfort therefrom, for the evils appeared most clearly when the State was the owner of all the means of production and individuals could reap their greatest rewards by manipulating the government managed by their political equals.
The Republic, although a great success, still needs many things. Owing to the lack of money, certain needs regarding drainage, bathing facilities, and more buildings for dwelling-houses, have not yet been met. For a similar reason also, sufficient provision has not yet been made for regular school training. For, while the Republic started as a summer scheme, it has now become possible to keep perhaps 25 per cent. of the summer “citizens” throughout the year; and it is hoped that in the near future a much larger proportion of the "citizens " may become permanent residents for two or three years, or until they are ready to enter independently into the life of the greater republic. It is also desirable