Popular Science Monthly/Volume 52/February 1898/The Primary Social Settlement
|THE PRIMARY SOCIAL SETTLEMENT.|
By KATE KINGSLEY IDE.
WITH the close of this century the "woman question," as such, will have practically settled itself in the United States, to the immense relief of a great number of people. In its wake have followed "child study," of special interest to kindergartners and mothers' clubs; paidology, the new science of the child, claiming the attention of college men and demanding a college chair; and oikology, a new name for the science of housekeeping or household economics. Oikology, from its Greek derivation, includes also family life or homekeeping, which has but recently appeared on the horizon of science and literature as worthy of particular study. It will not be in dim perspective much longer. The question of the family, of transcendent importance, is sure to come nearer and nearer, to grow larger and larger, and to demand the attention not only of economists and sociologists but of thoughtful men and women everywhere. The national "Congress of Mothers" will soon be superseded by that of fathers and mothers, and, finally, by that of the whole family. It is in the air that the family, the home end of the social problem—the primary social settlement, if you please—is to have a renaissance, a new birth. Twenty-five years ago Charles Dudley Warner feared that with the going out of the hearthstone and the hearth fire, with its big aromatic back log of hickory, the family would go. It has not gone, but it has suffered neglect and decay to the extent that, like a smoldering fire, it needs new fuel and a big bellows to blow the embers into healthy life and warmth, to create a family atmosphere and make it contagious.
Because the disintegration of the family is threatened, because its decline is asserted, because family life in America has become a target for some foreigners to shoot unpleasant remarks at, there is no reason to take a pessimistic view, but rather to believe that family extremes have met, that the family pendulum has swung either way as far as it can, and will, according to the law of rhythm and reason, swing back to middle ground, to reorganization, resetting, reintegration.
It is incongruous in a country widely reputed for its homes that the house should be better than its inmates, the container of more account than the thing contained. To this end public opinion, that mighty factor in all forces, including social, needs to be aroused. The general thinking and reading public is not yet awake to the family idea. I know of no practical and pertinent subject that there is such a dearth of literature on as on family life, of more importance in the history of nations and in the history of the world than any other one thing. I know of but one entire book on the subject, and that was published ten years ago, and discusses the family historically more than ethically and sociologically. There are, however, chapters in several books that treat of the family in a scientific way. Our government, in the interest of science, sends out expeditionists to discover the north pole. For the sake of humanity as well as sociology, which "is nothing but systematic knowledge of human beings, who have always been commonplace and at the same time mysterious," it has become necessary for expert observers to discover or rediscover the family, and for the family to discover itself as microscopic society, and especially as the prototype of the nation. The old-time classification of social institutions into family, church, and state, with the family as the unit of society, and society the aggregation of families, has been somewhat changed. The individual is now the unit of society, and in some quarters of Germany and this country there is added a fourth class, "civil society, thereby designating economic life." They have some difficulty in disposing of the family, but are inclined to set it aside as an institution by itself, closely related to all the others, calling it the "primary social form," in which the cell, the individual unit, is found. I think it is Dr. Mulford who says: "The family is the natural and the normal condition of human existence. It is not the unit of society that is the ultimate and integral element, but it is the unitary form of society." Yet, as the individual is rarely separate from and outside of some kind of a family, and as social life is more generally concentrated in the family than in any other institution, I can not see that it makes the family more or less primary—that is, chief in importance—either by calling it the social form of the unit of society, or the unit of society itself. The old system of classification will probably continue to be used in philosophical if not scientific discussion of social institutions.
Conditions past as well as present must be understood before one would dare prescribe remedies for the present threatened disintegration of the family. A surgeon, before attempting a certain operation, has his assistant spend hours with the patient, writing up the history of the case, as to heredity, environment, causes and effects, not only for his own benefit and the patient's benefit, but for the benefit of surgery in general. A history or prehistory of the family case is altogether too long for a magazine article, but we may get kaleidoscopic if unsatisfactory views of the family in its evolution by means of such authorities as Moses, Homer, Christ, Paul, Plutarch, Dr. Hearn, Sir Henry Maine, Letourneau, Starcke, Professors Maurice, Drummond, and Small.
One should never judge of the ancient domestic institution by any modern standard, as is too commonly done. Neither is it well to use the modern name, family, but rather household, for the Semitic and Aryan domestic establishments, so extensive and complicated in their various ramifications, laws, and customs. From the Semitic (more properly Shemitic) household the modern family has evolved, although Herbert Spencer is at variance with the theory that the infancy of society is found in the patriarchal group. His evolution goes back to an aggregation of males and females without settled family arrangements. Be that as it may, it is a fact that all societies were originally organized on the "patriarchal theory," based on the scriptural history of the Hebrews. The Hebraic household was really a corporation. At the head of this corporation was the patriarchal father, with absolute power over wives, children, servants, household property, and in a representative way over the flocks and herds of his sons. Such households were those of Abraham, Jacob, and Laban.
Modern ideas of the family are based, of course, on monogamous marriages, which many people seem to think did not exist either in sentiment or reality until the Christian era. This is a big mistake. In the original divine ordinance of marriage, "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him" (Genesis, ii, 18), and "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis, ii, 24), monogamy is implied, and also in what Christ said in Matthew, xix, 5, 6, and Mark, x, 7, 8. Monogamic, polygynous, polyandric have always been numerators over the common denominator, marriage, yet for reasons pertaining to personal comfort the monogamic family has been the commonest, and existed in higher nations long before the Christian era. But Christianity gave a new motive for its existence. It made the underlying spirit of family life more important than the laws and customs pertaining thereto.
Among the Semites, confusion, trouble, and hatred ever resulted from the practice of polygamy, which, though not prohibited by Moses, was restrained and discouraged. The first-born, whether of the beloved or hated wife, was to have his right, and citizenship was denied to eunuchs.
But even in the domestic darkness of polygynous households, parental love often shone like a bright light, though sometimes it was the light of favoritism. "And Isaac loved Esau." "Now Israel loved Joseph." Hagar, lifting up her voice and weeping over against the shrubbery where she had placed Ishmael, so that she could not see him die, is a most pathetic picture of a mother's love. The love of home, too, was strong even in the wandering days of the patriarchs, who delighted to obey the frequent command, "Return unto the land of thy fathers and to thy kindred." In other family affections these old Hebrews are still an example for us. Ruth's love for and companionship with her mother-in-law, Naomi, is a touching part of the beautiful biblical idyl. Old age was revered. The grandfather's blessing on the sons' sons was of greatest account. His words were desired and cherished. Even Rameses sought and obtained the blessing of the old man Jacob, who was given by the king not simply a living place in some corner of Egypt, but in "the best of the land." Brotherly love was often conspicuous in contrast to brotherly hate. Joseph, the ruler, in the second chariot of Egypt, not only looked after his father by express command of the king, but his brethren and all his father's household, "according to their little ones."
The influence of this primitive social institution, the ancient family or household, has been felt in law also. Maine says: "It is this patriarchal aggregate, the modern family thus cut down on one side and extended on the other, which meets us on the threshold of primitive jurisprudence. Older probably than the state, the tribe, and the house, it left traces of itself on private law long after the house (another name for gens) and the tribe had been forgotten, and long after consanguinity had ceased to be associated with the composition of states." He also says: "It will be found to have stamped itself on all the great departments of jurisprudence, and may be detected as the true source of many of their most important and most durable characteristics." This is but another proof that the best things in law and love are always up to date.
Polyandric households prevailed to some extent where women were outnumbered by men, and polyandry is practiced now in some parts of Europe, India, and among certain tribes in the Pacific Islands and America. Among the usually polygynous Indian tribes, the Iroquois was a single monogamic exception.
Polygynists and polyandrists can never have known love in its quintessence. Love, unlike coffee, can not be diluted with safety for family use. Only the pure, strong extract is the basis of a true union between one man and one woman. And such a marriage is the only fit foundation for family life. True, there have been weddings—that is, ceremonies, festivities, and trousseaux—without love, but if the family had depended on the mere correlation of the sexes it would have died an early death as an institution. Professor Drummond explains how conjugal love came into existence in this way. Speaking of the loveless marriages of the early races and how love came, he says: "If neither the husband nor the wife bestowed this gift upon the world, who did? It was a little child. Till this appeared, man's affection was non-existent, woman's was frozen. But one day from its mother's very heart, from a shrine which her husband never visited nor knew was there, which she herself dared scarce acknowledge, a child drew forth the first fresh bud of love which was not passion, a love which was not selfish, a love which was an incense from its Maker, and whose fragrance from that hour went forth to sanctify the world."
However, it was never intended that parenthood should precede conjugal love, but rather that it should strengthen it. Mrs. Browning's interpretation of conjugal love in the first human family before the first baby came seems reasonable and right. In the Drama of Exile, Adam thanks God
"That rather, thou hast cast me out with her
Than left me lorn of her in paradise,
With angel looks and angel songs around
To show the absence of her eyes and voice,
And make society full desertness."
And Eve responds:
"I am renewed;
My eyes grow with the light which is in thine;
Because I comprehend
This human love, I shall not be afraid
Of any human death."
Monogamous love marriages have not only improved the family physically, psychically, and ethically, but society as well. The decline and fall of Rome can be traced to her corrupt domestic life. The moral progress of the nation ceased when sacred family life ceased. The names Pompey, Caesar, Antony, Cicero, not only suggest intellect, power, splendor, conquest, and oratory, but divorced wives, paramours, unfathered and unmothered children, and marble palaces that hadn't the faintest semblance of homelikeness. The high civilization of Rome could not afford to throw off the family, which, then and now, either as a blessing or curse, is the primary social group from which evolves all society. The advancement of learning has never yet been sufficient gain for the loss of domestic morality. But even in the so-called morally pure Roman households, family right swallowed up individual right as a larger fish swallows the smaller. The paterfamilias was a tyrannical lord, who crushed any signs of asserted individualism. Pride of ancestry and patrimony surpassed natural affection. Occasionally there was a Catonic exception, who believed that a good husband was more praiseworthy than a great senator. We know that the elder Cato left urgent business to help wash and dress a newborn son, that he taught the growing boy to read, to use correct language, to box, to swim, to fight in armor, and to endure hardships. He even wrote historical books with his own hands and had them printed in big characters, that the boy at home might read of the brave deeds of his countrymen and thus unconsciously imbibe patriotism. It is significant that the dignified Roman Portia boasted not only of being the wife of Brutus, but a Cato's daughter.
Homer looked upon domestic relations, in some sense, as divine relations. Odysseus constantly had consideration for home and wife. The sanctity of the marriage vow is noticed particularly in the Iliad, a poem that does homage to hearth and home. And when conjugal and parental relations in classical Greece were outraged, she too, like Rome, felt the result in all her social fabric. At the time when her children were looked upon chiefly as additions to the state and army, we get a glimpse of a certain family relation not wholly unlike that of to-day. Themistocles, when his son was making demands on him by means of his mother, said: "O woman, the Athenians govern the Greeks, I govern the Athenians, but you govern me, and your son governs you; so let him use his power sparingly, since, simple as he is, he can do more than all the Greeks together."
The ancient household in Hellas and Italy was held together by authority, obedience, and domestic worship. The hearth was the altar—the Vesta—with its holy fire. The Aryan house father never died, but lived on in his male successor and in the family hearth worship to his memory. The Lares and Penates devotion was a crude religion, but veritable. The hearth was the family center, the house spirits were the guardians of the hearth. Everywhere primitive religion seemed to be domestic. It is related that the Russian peasant, in changing his house, raked the fire from the old stove into a jar and carried it to his new home, where its arrival was greeted with the remarkable salutation, "Welcome, grandfather! "If the fire for any reason could not be taken, a fire shovel or poker was substituted. In the brownie, hobgoblin, and Robin Goodfellow of the British Isles it is easy to trace the belief in ancient house spirits. In the Orkney Islands, hardly more than a century ago, there was in every family a brownie who was so helpful in corn-thrashing and house-cleaning, and withal so fond of milk, that "when the people churned, they sprinkled a little of the churning in every corner of the house for Brownie." I suppose this appeasing perquisite for spirit drudgery was but a forerunner of the modern servant's "tip," an abbreviated form of "to insure promptness."
As we come to the Christian era, the old family idea begins to wane. Christ emphasized the family, but also the relative importance of the individual in the family, and the immense importance of little children and childlikeness. From the fact that the founder of Christianity was born and lived in a family, there arose a new conception of fatherhood and motherhood. From the fact that John the Baptist was the cousin of Christ, and James, the author, his brother or near relation, and the Bethany family his close friends, the bond of brotherhood, blood relationship, and friendship has increased significance. That the Christ had a long family pedigree with royal blood in it is of interest; but it is more interesting to know that the carpenter's son, in a poor family (immediate) with meager surroundings, became a great man followed by crowds of the common people, in spite of a prevailing unbelief in his Messiahship. It is of supreme account to any family that this Jewish boy, growing tall and learned and in favor with God, was not disagreeable to men and was subject to his parents in all matters, except in the sphere of conscience, where even parents may not enter unbidden.
It is doubtful if Paul had wife or children, yet he seemed to know a great deal about other people's children and family life, at such great centers as Ephesus and Corinth. His lengthy commandatory advice in this direction, and his calling attention to the moral inheritance of the child in the case of Timothy, show that he considered the family the primary social settlement.
Feudalism was, perhaps, a means of developing individualism in the family. Dr. Thwing says: "When not waging warfare, the lord in his castle on crest or side of hill was bound into an intimate and strong relation with wife and children. They were separated from society, and compelled to find satisfaction and contentment in each other. This tended to place members of the family on absolute equality." However, in humble homes, among families without rank or reputation, degradation was developed through the abusive power of the lord over the wives of his dependents.
A most beautiful type of family life is seen at the beginning of our own country in colonial days. It is a revelation to watch the observance of that home amenity—the just consideration of each other—in the Winthrop family, as it grew into nine children and several faithful domestics, who always went to church with the family, and were buried in the family lot. It is as fascinating as a realistic novel, in the best sense of realism, to see them go from an old world to a new, under trying circumstances, yet remaining loyal to each other in enforced absences and exasperating losses. The post-nuptial love letters of John and Margaret Winthrop are as fervid as the prenuptial. The eldest son in this family is like a younger brother to his father, sharing responsibility and labor with him, and always a noble stepson to his loving stepmother. The filial respect, the family government, the family economy, the family unity, the family simplicity, and withal the family hospitality, so sincere and generous as to include the soldier, the sailor, the farmer, John Eliot the missionary, the London lawyer, and the Oxford scholar, who are welcomed without fuss or fume to succotash, hominy, hasty pudding, pumpkin pie, and a feather bed, exhibit a type of family life that puts to shame a merely outward colonial home—a house—full of things, and empty of real lives.
After the picture of the "Governor's family," and the lapse of two hundred years, we may catch a glimpse of a famous social group whose influence has been felt throughout this whole century, in American literature, education, philosophy, and theology. Civil society, also, is largely indebted to that Litchfield family of Lyman Beecher, whose mandate—"Mind your mother! Quick! No crying! Look pleasant!"—was obeyed in military fashion. This household was pre-eminently cheerful, witty, literary, social, and free in its development. The growing young people were not uneasy to go somewhere every night, because the older and younger enjoyed and appreciated each other in delightful evenings at home, where conversation was educative, thrilling, and amusing, with true story and anecdote. The young Beechers had plenty of wholesome household and out-of-doors work during the day, so that to be with the family at night was as restful to them as evening basketball and feats on the trapeze in the gymnasium, away from the family, are to our young people. Their prayer meeting was "family prayers." Their literary club was a family affair. Their theater was a family affair with continual star additions in men and women from far and near, that gave and received large measures of profit and amusement, thus instituting a family reciprocity that has, finally, been copied by the family of nations.
The last turn of our kaleidoscope reveals a strangely contrastive picture that we have read about, if we have not seen. Let us hope that it is exceptional if true. The father in work-harness from January to January boards and lodges at the family residence, and pays all the family bills, when he is able to. If guests ever find him at home he seems to have "dropped in by accident," gives them a perfunctory handshake, says nothing, or something mechanically, and is at a loss how to behave generally. His son Jack, a little "unsteady," is conspicuous by his absence at his bachelor apartments. His wife, "jeweled like a Hindu idol," smiles, converses, and does the proper things—from chaperoning the young ladies to the opera to settling "quarrels below stairs." Sometimes the family—that is, the female portion of it—"passes years in Europe" for the health or deceptive veneering of daughters who may not know the names of half a dozen mineral springs in their own country, and who forget that the United States has a few canons, a few mountains, a few universities, and a few art collections. Somehow, the management of this family has come to devolve on womankind. One writer makes the modern father a hopeless victim, . . . forced into a style of living which exceeds his means and violates his tastes, forced to yield the guidance and discipline of his children to systems with which he has no sympathy, forced to these sacrifices by the relentless will of an elegant wife." Allowing that this last family picture is unusual and extreme, it is still plain to any keen observer that the pendulum has swung from excessive familism to a somewhat normal domestic life, and then outward to a riotous individualism that indicates family decline if not consumption. Among the most potential causes of this condition are:
1. Complexity of home architecture, furnishings, and personal wardrobe.
2. The apparent apathy, willingness, or submission of men, in yielding to women rights and privileges that belong to themselves.
3. The feverish desire for liberty at any cost.
4. Fewer marriages and more false marriages, with the ever-ready divorce escape.
5. The great and increasing opening in the economic world to female labor.
6. The unparalleled multiplication and popularity of clubs.
7. The willingness of outside institutions to assume functions of the family, and the readiness of the family to transfer them.
Remedies lie in Causes.—In the perplexing mizmaze of the modern residence, in the undue attention to the multiplex mysteries of the modern wardrobe, in the multiform engagements of the modern individual, the family is losing its identity. When some Ariadne puts into its hand the silver cord of simplicity, the family, if it holds on to the cord, will be helped back to its rightful place. Simplicity can not be adorned. It is a grace of itself, whether in a house, a face, or a gown. Simplicity will never entangle the family, so that one by one the individuals will want to extricate themselves and run away. If it is not desirable to return to white houses with right angles and green blinds, to the big kitchen with its big fireplace and crane—a kitchen where the family gathered for ciphering, and knitting, and apple-paring, and reading aloud, and "fox and geese," and blindman's buff, without a thought of "the carpet"—it is desirable that we make some kind of a rallying center where the family will feel free, comfortable, and communicative. Even the center table is being banished in some homes, and the easy settee and high-backed lounge have been superseded by a luxurious-looking couch, piled high with pillows, some of them pretty to look at, but often too dainty for use. Things merely "to look at" should be confined largely to walls, mantels, pedestals, and portfolios.
A partial reintegration of the family will take place when the house father stands for authority, judgment, and righteousness as much as the house mother for patience, tact, and love. In the animal world, with the exception of the birds, the fathers are nearly all family backsliders. In the human family, business and business worries have been excuses long enough for a man to leave family management entirely to his wife. Adam and Eve together were to have dominion over everything. No man has a choice of the family he is born into, but he is responsible for his own family, which he should never have established unless he chose to be the head of it, or one of its heads, and wisely co-operative in its development. No true father need to be "forced" into false family living. When he permits himself to be so forced he is a backslider.
Individual liberty along most lines means advance and advantage; but such liberty without becoming restraint, especially among mere boys and girls in the family, results in rebellion at home and anarchy abroad. Individualism running riot is like a frenzied runaway horse that finally clears himself of every attachment. Before the individual thus runs away with himself, it might be a good thing in the United States, where there is such a general movement of liberation, to return to the family as the social unit. That the lack of individualism was the bane of the ancient family, and the excess of it is the bane of the modern family, shows that in both family and state "real liberty is neither found in despotism nor in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments."
There are those who think fewer marriages are due, among other things, to the fact that so many women are embracing the "higher education." It is true, such women are no longer satisfied with a husband who is merely a "good provider" of material things. But this is not ominous. Highly educated women crave companionship, but such as includes the intellectual and moral. Family life needs the leaven of a good intellectual heredity as well as physical. No amount of education will ever destroy maternal or wifely love in a true woman, illustrated in the case of George Eliot and our Margaret Fuller, who was never happy until she became the "mia cara" of Ossoli, and the mother of the blue-eyed Angelino. The man who, like Helmar in Ibsen's Doll's House, wants in a wife only a lark to sing for him, a doll in soft and silken gown to dress up his home with, will still frown on the higher education for women.
When one sees a bridegroom chewing gum during the entire marriage ceremony, and discovers six months later that the bride (the third wife) has secured a divorce, one concludes that quality of marriage is more essential than quantity. I heard a gentleman say, not long ago, that "one reason why more young men do not marry is because fathers do not set us an example in family happiness, nor look upon family happiness as a success to be won." False marriages, like those of Dorothea and Casaubon, Gwendolyn and Grand-court, Andrea del Sarto and Lucrezia, occur because the seriousness of the marriage relation is not understood.
When parents, by example and precept, teach their children the sacredness of marriage, when clergymen are not so fast to tie the knot, and lawyers to untie it, the foundation for the family will be stronger.
Arthur Fairbanks, in his recent book, reasons that the economic problem concerns the family even to a greater extent than the divorce problem. He thinks when a woman is obliged to go into the factory or shop to eke out a husband's earnings, which have become smaller and smaller because men have come into competition with women willing to receive lower wages for the same work, the effect is deleterious upon the family. It is still more alarming when women, simply because they dislike housekeeping and the "bother" of little children, put an inefficient or efficient substitute in the position of family care-taker, while they themselves accept a clerkship in the husband's or stranger's down-town office, under the subterfuge of earning more than enough to pay for the extra service at home. Assuming maternity and shirking motherhood is even more dangerous and condemnatory than assuming paternity and shirking fatherhood. I understand from our Commissioner of Labor, Mr. Carroll D. Wright, that 88.7 per cent of employed women are single. If this is not true, and the majority or even a large minority of women wage-earners are married, then it is a serious matter that may be regulated in some degree by sociologists and capitalists.
The writer is a member of two clubs that are stimulating and helpful to the primary social settlement—the family—and believes that a moderate use of the club, like that of any good thing, is desirable. But when the club is ubiquitous and disproportionately valued, so that men, women, and adult children "recognize themselves more by their badges," and care more for ties of ribbon than ties of blood, then the club is inimical to home life. The remedy for this is in making the family a fraternity—an enlarged fellowship of people and ideas, a comradeship, that shapes itself into forms of mutual helpfulness. When heads of families, who now entertain their gentlemen friends in elaborate, expensive ways of eating and drinking at their clubhouse, are free and willing to bring them to the family house, where eating and drinking shall be the subordinate part of a home welcome; when it is the custom of women to open the doors of their homes and hearts in retail hospitality, instead of disposing of social indebtedness in the lump, as it were, at their club-house; when the ornaments of a house are "the friends who frequent it" and the family who live in it, and when courtesy between the members of the family is as pronounced as that between club members; when family amusements are pleasant and recreative, the home will be as popular as the club. To avoid disintegration and disloyalty, the family must satisfy the reasonable desires of its individual members.
That very important family function of communicating psychical impulses is too often disused, abused, or transferred. When this function is in normal exercise, the family conversation at table is not the same category of questions and answers as to individual tasks, or the familiar rehearsal of the grocer's blunders, the servant's inefficiency, or the children's mishaps.
The family is the original social group, the oldest school, and should not transfer its legitimate functions to the kindergarten, graded or high school. The kindergarten is unimpeachable in aims, if not methods. Public schools, in general, are something to be proud of. But the kindergarten is limited in its mission without family co-operation, and "the public school accomplishes but little, except when it supplements the intellectual life of the home." Perhaps the latest assumption of family functions in the school line is seen in the establishment of parental schools for incorrigibles, usually under the care of school boards. Not only are incorrigibles provided for by public institutions, but the sick, the aged, the infants, the imbeciles, and a legionary body of unfortunates. Benevolent and reformatory institutions must needs be, in moderation, especially for such classes as the blind, the deaf-mute, the insane, the orphan, and the homeless. But, as propagation is the exclusive function of the family, is not the family bound to do its best and its utmost for its own progeny? Are not families becoming too willing to roll off family burdens on to the state?
Even the religious training of children is willingly turned over to the church and Sunday school by families capable and responsible not only for laying foundations for the Sunday school to build upon, but for co-operating with the Sunday-school teaching. The Jewish church began in a family, and the Gentile church began in a family. Does the family pew in the meeting house show that the church is still in the family, or does it indicate family disintegration? If it does, there will be reintegration when fathers and mothers no longer look lonesome in the "family pew" because their children are scattered around in other pews, visiting with other people's children, or in other assemblies, or oft on the road bicycling, and when children no longer look lonesome in the family pew because parents are "taking it easy" at home.
The aim of social settlements, like the Hull House, Andover House, Hiram House in this country, Oxford House, Mansfield House, and the teetotums in London, is to supplement family life, or, more correctly, to substitute something for nothing, or something good for something bad in the numerous and prolific families that barely exist in one room, two rooms, or three rooms in the rookeries of all great cities. This fact, together with the facts we have been considering, proves the family to be the social group first in importance, as well as first in order of being. And so we conclude that there is not only danger to society in the ill performance of family functions in "Mulberry Bend," New York; Drury Lane, Bethnal Green, and Spitalfields, London; in the two- and three-hundred-years-old closes, wyndes, and laimdes of Edinburgh and Glasgow; but also in homes on light and clean streets and famous avenues.
Obligations of society toward the poorest poor can not be lessened, but they can be increased toward the rich and the richest. "There is no duty of one class toward another which is not essentially the duty of each human being to all his fellows. There is no genuine charity toward the poor which is not, in principle, the duty of the rich toward the rich."
The art of living together domestically is a fine art, that seeks expression through beautiful family life which is not extinct, but comparatively rare. Along with renaissance, in architecture, painting, and sculpture, why may there not be a family renaissance, so that men, women, and children shall feel that the real life of the world is not in the counting house, clubhouse, schoolhouse, meeting house, courthouse, or statehouse, but in the family house—the dwelling house?
- The Family. By Dr. Thwing.
- See An Introduction to the Study of Society. By Small and Vincent, p. 246.