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101
FIRST STEPS TOWARD A MILLENNIUM

upon to subscribe to voluntary charitable organizations, which aim to reform abandoned children.[1]

One of the latest novelties, now, in this same direction, is the complaint that the education which the burden-bearing part of the community has furnished for the whole is not of a good kind; that the gift is not a suitable one; that the beneficiaries of it are not much to blame for rejecting it, because it is not of the right kind. It is proposed that the tax-payer once more shall come forward and provide trade schools, or manual labor schools. This proposition is as yet so vague and multiform that it is impossible to discuss it. The most sensible persons who are interested in the plan agree that schools to teach handicrafts or trades as a means of livelihood would not be defensible; but may not the tax-payer think it rather hard that, after he has provided schools and libraries, and high schools with all the paraphernalia of science, he should be told that it is all a mistake, and that he has to begin all over again, on a new line of development, which the same guides now believe to be the correct one?

Now this generation of children, when they come to maturity, marry—the earlier the more dependent they are and the less serious their views of life—and begin the story of their own parents, and their own childhood, all over again. At middle life they find themselves over-burdened, disappointed, unfit to cope with the difficulties of life, a discontented class that the respectable and burden-bearing part of society are once more told is a

  1. While writing, I find in a daily paper the report of a county home for abandoned children, in which it is said: "It will be noticed that one hundred and thirty-one of these [one hundred and forty-seven] children were taken from the degraded classes, even the homeless ones being homeless by reason of the viciousness of parents, one or both of whom, in all cases except eight of the one hundred and thirty-one, are living and are able-bodied."