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cause, when the cause exists. The important lesson to be taught is that most of our sewer-gas is home-made. Bacterial growth in sewers is a newly-mooted subject, of which the mooting is thus far the only real progress; but this is real progress.
In the sewerage of towns all will admit that great advances have been made within the period under consideration. The better works referred to on a previous page may be regarded as the models on which construction is generally planned. In execution the best plan often fails of proper carrying out, because of the not yet entirely obsolete ignorance and stupidity of the newlyelected sewerage committees of local governments, and because of the almost universal misconception of the meaning of the word “economy,” coupled with a notion that public works are always most cheaply and most honestly executed when let by contract to the lowest bidder. The only economy in works of this character, especially as they are forever hidden from view, is to be sought in absolutely faithful and excellent construction with the best attainable material. The extra cost of building sewers in the best manner is not worth a moment's consideration as compared with the wastefulness and grave sanitary danger which usually attend lowest-bidder construction.
I am a firm believer in the superiority, under most circumstances, of the separate removal of house-drainage through small vitrified pipes; but I believe that large brick sewers properly arranged and constructed are- bacterial growth apart
- better and safer, as they are also vastly more costly, than pipe sewers, as these are usually laid. It is true that bricksewers leak and frequently contaminate the soil; but the ooze from their walls is of much less consequence than the direct delivery of a stream of sewage at every joint with improperly laid pipes. I believe, of course, that the system that I have car. ried out at Memphis and elsewhere, of using very small, tightly. jointed pipes, thoroughly washed out once or twice a day by automatic flush-tanks connected with the water supply, is as much better than other systems as it is cheaper; but I believe, nevertheless, that perfect workmanship is better, from a sanitary point of view, than a perfect plan. The demonstration of the truth of these convictions afforded by good examples of work executed in this country during the past ten years, cannot fail to have its influence on future sewer construction, and we may regard our future in this respect as well assured.
The importance of the removal of the water of saturation from the soil in and about the house, and generally in malarious districts, is becoming better and better understood, and malaria must ere long become practically obsolete in the older settled portions of the United States, as it already has in its old haunts in England.
In studying the difficult questions involved in the ultimate disposal of sewage, the public has yet to appreciate the importance of immediate removal. Of course even the freshest and most recent sewage ought not to be delivered where it can contaminate adjacent streams or bodies of water; but real contamination is very greatly in proportion to the degree to which sewage has been permitted to decompose on the way from the fixtures in the house to the outlet of the main sewer. As in the house, so in the town, complete removal before decomposition should always be the rule. When water-carried waste matters are delivered in this fresh condition, a very large proportion of their organic constituents is consumed by fishes, and the lower order of life and the decomposition of such matters as float in the well aerated upper portion of the water is complete and rapid; but the rule must, in time, prevail, that no sewage shall be delivered into stagnant waters, along shores, into harbors, or into streams, which carry it past other communities which would suffer from its ultimate decay.
GEORGE E. WARING, JR.
CRUELTY TO CHILDREN.
OUR last national Census, in 1880, showed that the number of children in the United States under sixteen years of age was over twenty millions; of whom 10,158,954 were boys, and 9,884,705 were girls. From a political standpoint, the future status of the nation will largely depend on the proper physical and intellectual training of these children, yearly increasing in num. ber, who before long will constitute the sovereign people of the Republic. In a social and moral point of view, the well-being of society imperatively demands that the atmosphere in which they live and the treatment which they receive from those having their custody or intrusted with their care, shall be such as to insure habits of industry, temperance, honesty, and chastity. Cruelty to children produces mental and physical disease, and the prevention of such cruelty is a matter, therefore, of grave public importance.
Cruelty has been legally defined to embrace “every act, omission or neglect whereby physical pain, suffering or death is caused, or permitted ;” and it is divisible into those cases which the law reaches, and those which it does not reach. Thus, for instance, among the intelligent and educated, brutality to a child is viewed with horror, and corporal punishment is something almost unknown. The pride of the parent in the offspring frequently amounts almost to idolatry. Many such parents treat their children as though they were rare exotic plants; and while the children are carefully guarded against temptations common to their age, and are clothed, fed, and educated with the utmost care, their nurture in other respects is not always wisely directed. A child of delicate, nervous constitution, with a developement of intellect beyond its years, is too often forced by over-education into a premature growth of its mental faculties to the injury of its bodily health. The strain is not apparent at first, but as the child grows older it becomes more susceptible to the inroads of disease, and too often the very care taken to develop the intellect strikes a fatal blow at the corresponding development of the body. Again, children delicately nurtured and of a nervous temperament are unusually impressible under the behavior of their parents. Where, for instance, the harsh word checks the child's love, exhibited perhaps at an inopportune moment, an impression is made on the memory and character of the child which is not easily effaced. The idea never seems to occur to many persons that the life of childhood is a life of itself. Children live in a world of their own. They have their fancies, their peculiar likes and dislikes, their day-dreams, their fears and their hopes. Day by day, as this child-life goes on, the character is being formed and molded. Their physical condition has everything to do with their conduct, and too often what is attributed by the parent to perversity or temper, is but the precursor or symptom of physical disease. The maladies of childhood are usually ushered in by an unaccountable waywardness of temper; and a child is frequently punished for a physical irritation over which it has no control, the cause of which subsequently becomes apparent. So, too, any neglect by parents of their children's interests is keenly felt by the children themselves. The weakening of parental authority at the present day, so often complained of, will be found in many cases due to the fact that the old adage that “ children should be seen and not heard,” is the governing maxim, instead of that constant attention to the education, the wants and the wishes of the child, which renders the tie between it and its parents stronger than adamant, and lasting through life. The stinging reproof, too often uttered in momentary anger by the parent, and frequently undeserved because inquiry was not properly made into the facts before it was administered, and the biting, cutting sarcasm, intended to convey disapproval of conduct, will, with a child of tender susceptibilities, injure its moral and affectional nature far more than the blow which constitutes actual brutality. These are cases of cruelty which the law does not reach. Yet it wisely entrusts to the parent the care of the child in its earlier years, because in the great majority of cases the parental instincts and the natural bond of affection are the very best safe-guards for its welfare.
of the children of the laboring classes. Occupied the entire day in his ordinary avocation, and in providing for the needs of his family, the hard-working laboring man has but little time to bestow upon his offspring. They are usually left to their mother, who, perhaps, is called upon by the demands of an increasing family to labor herself for their sustenance. Too often they are allowed to roam at large, and to select their own associates; and experience has shown that the votaries of vice are always on the alert to lure innocent and unsuspecting children into vice and crime, before even their parents are conscious of their danger. Sad cases of this character appear in the records of our societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and of our criminal courts. Girls ceasing to be children and becoming women fall into vice before they really know what vice is. Boys with originally good instincts are beguiled, through the allurements of dime novels and of blood-and-thunder dramas at cheap theaters, into the company of thieves and vagabonds; and the petty theft which soon consigns them to a reformatory institution, while it may perhaps be the occasion of checking a vicious career, stamps a brand of crime upon the character, destined in future to produce deplorable results. One of the worst evils to which children of the laboring classes are subjected is their employment at a very early age in occupations detrimental to their health, and positively injurious to their vitality and moral growth. The temptation to parents to utilize their children for the purpose of enlarging their scanty 'means of subsistence, regardless of the injury to the morals, the intellect, or the physical health of the child, is so strong that the latter considerations rarely enter into their thoughts. The evil in this respect is a growing one, and if allowed to continue will endanger the welfare of the community by impoverishing the material out of which the American mechanic - 80 justly relied on as the main-spring of the nation's wealth — is made. Factories are crowded with children of very tender years who are compelled to work at starvation wages, frequently over ten hours a day, in close, confined rooms, until at last the physical system falls into premature decay, and consumption, with its attendant and kindred diseases, ensues. According to the census of 1870, the whole number of children of both sexes between the ages of ten and fifteen years pursuing “gainful” occupations was 739,164.
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