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and they cover all the vessels previously classed by the society excepting the large Cunard steamers Lusitania and Mauretania. The most important modification in the new rules is in the basis for determining the number" and the "longitudinal number." The former number is now to be found by adding the breadth and -depth only, and the latter by multiplying the length by the sum of the breadth and depth. It is also of importance to notice that all the sections in the tables conform to the standards of the Engineering Standards Committee. This is a very wise move, and is much to be commended. Another step in the right direction has been taken in the adoption of a unit for scantlings of one-fiftieth of an inch instead of one-twentieth as in the old rules. This not only conforms with the decimal system, but, as 0.02 inch is practically half a millimetre, a close connection with the metrical system is secured. As Lloyd's Register covers between 70 per cent. and 80 per cent. of the world's shipping for insurance purposes, the new rules cannot fail to influence the shipbuilding and steel industries in this and most foreign countries.
A NOTE in the Bulletin de l'Institut Pasteur for May 30 (vii., No. 10, p. 453) announces the discovery by Carlos Chagas, of Rio de Janeiro, of a new human trypanosome parasite (T. cruzi), conveyed by a bug (Conorrhinus), and causing an often fatal illness among miners and others in the State of Minas.
THE Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital for June (xx., No. 219) contains an interesting historical essay, by Dr. Gerster, on the life and times of Gerhardt van Swieten, physician to the Empress Maria Theresa, who was born in Leyden in 1700 and died in 1772 at Schön
A COMPREHENSIVE note on the cartography of the Philippine Islands is given by Prof. Guido Cora in Bollettino della Soc. Geogr. Ital. as a notice of the recent map of the islands compiled from original sources by Mr. C. W. Hodgson.
WE have received from the Nottingham Free Public Library a copy of a simply arranged supplementary science catalogue of the central lending library dealing with books in most branches of science published between 1901 and the present year.
MR. R. B. HENDERSON, assistant master at Rugby School, has written an introduction to the study of moths and butterflies for the Rugby School Natural History Society, entitled "The Scaly-winged." It will be published immediately by Messrs. Christophers.
WE have received vol. vi. of "Contributions from the Jefferson Physical Laboratory." It consists of a reprint of twelve papers which have appeared in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Science or in other periodicals during the past twelve months. Five of these papers have already been noticed in these columns.
In the announcement in NATURE of May 27 (p. 375) of the resignation by Mr. H. H. Clayton of his position at the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, it was stated that he had been in charge of the observatory since 1894. This statement does not express the position exactly. Mr. Clayton has served for many years as observer or meteorologist, and his researches have added to the reputation of the observatory, but the director is Prof. Lawrence Rotch, who founded the observatory in 1885, and provides for its material support.
THE June number of the Stonyhurst Magazine contains an illustrated description of the Milne seismograph used in the National Antarctic Expedition in H.M.S. Discovery The seismounder Captain R. F. Scott, R.N., in 1904. graph is now a permanent loan to the observatory at Stonyhurst from the Antarctic committee of the Royal Geographical Society. The instrument stands at Stonyhurst on a solid stone pillar fixed in 12 inches of concrete; its position is lat. 53° 50' 40" N. and long. 9m. 52.68s. W. of Greenwich. A new recording apparatus has been secured, and there is every reason to hope that useful observations will be made at the new station.
OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN.
COMET 1909a, BORRELLY-DANIEL.-Further observations of comet 1909a have revealed no striking features either in its form or in its behaviour. In No. 4334 of the Astronomische Nachrichten M. Chofardet records the observations made at the Besançon Observatory, and states that on June 17 and 19 the comet was of magnitude 11.0 or 12.0, had a round, diffused head of 1.5' diameter, and a vague condensation which could be seen occasionally by oblique vision.
A NEW FORM OF COMPARISON PRISM.-In all spectroscopic work where a comparison prism placed over the slit is used, the dark band between the compared spectra, produced by the edge of the prism, constitutes an inconvenience which may prove a source of error. To remedy this defect, Prof. Louis Bell has employed a specially designed compound prism, in which the light from one of the sources is reflected from the fine edge of a thin layer of silver, whilst that from the other source is allowed just to miss the edge. Thus the line of demarcation is practically eliminated. The method of preparing such compound prisms is described, and illustrated by diagrams, in No. 4, vol. xxix., of the Astrophysical Journal (p. 305).
HALLEY'S COMET.-No. 4330 of the Astronomische Nachrichten contains two search-ephemerides for Halley's comet. The first is by Dr. Holetschek, who discusses the probable date of perihelion and gives three ephemerides, one for May 16.45, 1910, and the others for thirty days before and after respectively. At the previous apparition, in 1835, the comet was discovered 102 days before the perihelion passage, when its distances from the sun and earth were 19 and 2.4 astronomical units respectively; the corresponding distance from the sun will occur, according to Dr. Holetschek's data (T=May 16-45, 1910), on February 3, 1910. The second ephemeris has been computed by Herr L. Matkiewitsch from the data given in the essay which won the Astronomische Gesellschaft prize; the positions now given vary considerably, at different epochs, from those previously referred to in these columns (NATURE, No. 2046, January 14, p. 320).
THE POLARISATION OF THE SOLAR CORONA.-In the June number of the Bulletin de la Société astronomique de France M. Salet discusses at length the photographs obtained at the 1905 eclipse with a polariscopic camera. These photographs show the coronal radiations to be strongly polarised right down to the moon's edge, thereby indicating that reflected light is being dealt with; but the spectroscopic observations indicate that radiations directly from a light-source are in question. M. Salet suggests that the apparent contradiction may be explained by the theory that the bright radiations observed spectroscopically are due to metallic vapours rendered fluorescent by the intense solar radiation. In this condition metallic vapours give band spectra, and the superposition of these might, if small dispersion were employed, produce the appearance of a continuous spectrum such as has been observed. In support of his theory M. Salet quotes the observation of Sir Norman Lockyer at the eclipse of 1882, that the coronal spectrum appeared to be formed of superposed bands, and directs attention to the discovery of magnetic fields by Prof. Hale, which, with a rotating sun, afford the conditions necessary for his theory.
THE SOLAR CONSTANT AND THE APPARENT TEMPERATURE OF THE SUN. In a note published in No. 7, vol. xix., of the Monthly Notices (p. 611), Dr. Féry discusses the measurement of the solar constant and of the sun's mean temperature. One of the greatest difficulties in these researches is to evaluate the atmospheric absorption, which in published researches has varied from 1.5 to 4; it is generally accepted now as having the value 2.4.
Having designed an instrument for measuring terrestrial high temperatures, MM. Féry and Millochau applied it to the determination of the solar temperature by Stefan's law.
More than 750 observations were made at different altitudes, and at the summit of Mont Blanc the zenith transmission was found to be 0.91; with this correction the temperature at the centre of the sun's disc was found to be 5550° absolute, and the mean temperature 5360° C. Before dispatching it to India, this instrument was restandardised at the National Physical Laboratory, and, on a clear, dry day, gave eight concordant readings, from which the temperature at the centre of the disc was found to be 5153° absolute; on this day the zenith transmission at Teddington was, therefore, 0-74, or the absorption was 26 per cent.
Employing the accepted value of the constant (2-4), the recent researches give 5920° as the mean temperature of the sun; but Dr. Féry thinks this is too high, and, therefrom, deduces that the accepted value of the solar constant is too high. The Mont Blanc measures would indicate 1.65 as the value.
THE NATIONAL CONSUMPTION OF WATER. AN important paper on the increase in the national
consumption of water was read by Mr. W. R. B. Wiseman before the Royal Statistical Society on April 27. The paper is of considerable interest, and must have entailed a large amount of time and thought on the part of the author. The historical part, which deals with the early history of water supply in England, treats the question, not only from the general point of view, but gives many interesting details of the early methods adopted and the difficulties met with in many individual towns; in fact, it is not too much to say that the early beginnings of the water supply of all the principal towns in England are reviewed shortly in the paper. It is obvious that, as the object of the paper is to deal with the more modern questions which arise in connection with this subject, the author could not devote very much space to historical details. We can, however, judge that on this subject he has only touched the fringe of the information he has acquired, and it may perhaps not be too much to hope that he may return to this part of his subject at a future date.
The life of Sir Hugh Myddelton and the description of the work carried out by him of bringing the water from the springs of Chadwell and Amwell, in Hertfordshire, by means of the New River, for the supply of London well known to most of us, and possibly the author of this paper may have material for the making of a story as interesting and romantic in connection with other
The author says he was "tempted" to investigate the estimates of the population in the pre-censal period in order to determine whether the great increases in the population in the nineteenth century were abnormal or otherwise, as upon the answer to the query one must be guided in the provision of water supplies for future populations. As was to be expected, he found such an inquiry not of great value. He has, however, put together some interesting information as regards the growth of many towns, and has dealt with the reasons for the very rapid growth of several of them. From a general review, the conclusion arrived at is that "the nineteenth century was in no wise abnormal, and that a steady increase in the already considerable population may be expected throughout the twentieth century.'
The author describes at some length the methods adopted for checking the waste of water in early days, and particularly the system adopted in Liverpool in 1868 of localising the waste by metering the supply in various districts.
Of course, the supply of water per head of population is the important question when dealing with the amount of water required, and the tables given of the supplies in a large number of towns show the variations which exist, and which extend from about sixty gallons as a maximum to below ten gallons as a minimum, leaving out one special case with small population which runs up to 124 gallons per head. The numbers all relate to total supply, which includes domestic, trade, and municipal demands. The statistics given show much greater uniformity of supply in the different towns than would have been anticipated, and it is evident from them that waste of water is carefully looked after in England, and all possible precautions taken to avoid it. If the consumption is compared with what is common in many of the large towns in the United States, where the water supply goes up to 200 gallons and more per head, it will be evident that the precautions. taken in England have given very satisfactory results. The opposition to the use of water meters in the United States is probably the reason why leakage and waste continue on a large scale. This opposition is principally due to the view that, on sanitary grounds, it is not well to restrict the supply of water, but, as Mr. F. P. Stearns stated in his presidential address to the American Society of Civil Engineers, no one has yet demonstrated the sanitary advantages of a leaky faucet or a defective ballcock."
Table No. 5 is a valuable one. It gives, first, the population of more than 120 cities, towns, or districts in England for two or three years, with intervals, sometimes gives the total supply in each of these water areas during large and sometimes small, between the years. It then the years mentioned, dividing it up under the heads of domestic, trade, and municipal, the daily supply per head of population then following under the same heads.
Considerable space is devoted to the reasons which have caused an increase in the supply of water per head for domestic, trade, and municipal purposes. As regards domestic, it is, of course, well known that the displacement of old methods of sewage disposal by the introduction of the water-carriage system was the first cause of the great increase of the water supply. The increased and increasing use of fixed baths must also largely augment the consumption, as the water used for a bath by one person may vary from thirty to one hundred gallons. The author gives various other reasons for the increase in the domestic supply. As regards municipal supply, attention is directed to the increase in consumption due to the public baths, wash-houses, street conveniences, &c. The author states that he has endeavoured for some time past to collect data which will give some idea of the relative proportion of the water supply needed for particular works or industries, but the results have been too meagre to justify definite conclusions. He, however, deals in a general way with the amount of water used in a large number of industries, among which are breweries, distilleries, paper works, textile industries, and many others, and the information given is of an interesting character. The conclusion is that, on the whole, the rate of increase of water supply is greater in recent times than in those more remote. There probably would have been no doubt about this conclusion in anyone's mind, but, although this may be the case, it does not detract from the value of the information which has been collected in this paper to prove it.
The moral drawn is that, with the increasing amount of water required, there will be an increasing competition for the remaining first-class upland reservoir sites, which will become fewer and fewer as time goes on, and it is therefore desirable that steps should be taken at an early date to create some central authority "which should be charged with the duty of water conservancy in its widest application, and for that purpose should engage in a close and exact study of the water resources of the country." The author then goes more fully into the details which ought to be dealt with by such a body.
This proposal is, of course, not new, although of great importance. It was dealt with by Mr. E. P. Hill in a paper which he read at the Institution of Civil Engineers on November 27, 1906. In the beginning of that paper he said, "the water supply of the country is really a
national matter, and it should be considered as a whole, and a town should not be allowed to appropriate a particular area unless it can be shown that in a general survey of available sources of supply that area can economically, from a water point of view, be allotted to it."
The value of the paper would have been increased if some information had been given as regards what is being done in other countries in connection with systematic investigation of water resources. There is no doubt that such an investigation is of more value and of greater necessity to the United Kingdom, where the population per acre is large, than to some of those countries which are at present rather sparsely inhabited, but which, at the same time, spend money on proposals such as have been suggested. In the United States this work was undertaken as a national one some years ago, a beginning having been made in 1894-5 by a grant of 12,500 dollars. This amount was gradually increased, until the grant in 1905-6 was 200,000 dollars. Since then there has, we believe, been some variation in the amount voted for this purpose.
Considering the large amount of work which the author must have gone through to prepare this paper, it may seem almost ungracious to suggest that he should add anything further to it as regards other countries, but he has shown such a large capacity for putting information together that we hope he may be tempted to even further research in connection with this subject.
THE WAR AGAINST TUBERCULOSIS.
THE National Association for the Prevention of Consumption and other Forms of Tuberculosis was well advised to open its exhibition or collection of objectlessons in the Borough of Stepney. It may safely be said that the Whitechapel Art Gallery never had any company of more interested sightseers than the thousands who, at this exhibition a few weeks ago, examined and discussed death-rates, ventilation, graduated labour and the apparatus used in performing it in the treatment of consumption, apparatus for the treatment of tuberculous diseases, playgrounds, pathological specimens, back-toback houses, overcrowding, food-stuffs and the principles of nutrition, methods of disinfection, and the like.
Any interested onlooker would have seen at once that the official conferences and set discussions constituted, after all, but a small fraction of the educational work that was being carried on. Here was an exhibition of which the main object was not to direct the attention of the public to any patent medicine or "all curing" nostrum, but how to regulate their daily life, how to avoid disease, and how to get the best food value out of their weekly wages, be these great or small. Nevertheless, the promoters of this exhibition, realising what an opportunity they had, also gathered together a number of medical and municipal delegates interested in the matter, to discuss the best means of preventing and curing tuberculosis.
Even those dropping in casually found an enthusiastic band of demonstrators, nurses from dispensaries and hospitals, attendants from graduated labour homes, from sanatoria and similar institutions, all hard at work explaining to small groups of interested men and women the meaning of the exhibits of which they were in charge. It was interesting to see the keenness with which both teacher and listener tackled the subject; and that these demonstrators were doing their work well was apparent from the numerous and intelligent questions that were put at the end of the demonstrations. Even to the sharp, shrewd Londoner the importance of ventilation, of cleanliness, of light, of suitable feeding, have been small, but a few exhibitions and demonstrations such as those seen and heard in Whitechapel Art Gallery will soon change all that; and the President of the Local Government Board has done nothing better for some time than in giving his countenance and support to what promises to be a really living movement.
What is the object and what are the lessons insisted upon at these conferences? Anyone visiting the exhibition
would have it brought home to him in some way or other that between 1858 and 1907 there nad been a fall in the annual death-rate due to tuberculosis from 2700 per 1,000,000 living to 1150 per 1,000,000 living. He would also see that, were the fall to continue at the same rate, tuberculosis would be an extinct disease early in the 1940 decade. Although this is too favourable a state of things to look forward to, as there will always remain a certain substratum of tuberculous patients and foci that it will be almost impossible to reach, tuberculosis should undoubtedly be an almost negligible quantity in our death-rate by that time.
How has this fall been brought about? In the first place, even before Koch was able to prove the presence of the infective agent, the tubercle bacillus, in tuberculous lesions, it was realised by those who were studying the disease most closely that it could be transmitted from one person to another, and that crowded and badly ventilated rooms were, therefore, fruitful centres of infection. This was a very great step forward, the full effect of which, however, was not felt until Koch gave his wonderful demonstration of the presence of the tubercle bacilli. He isolated the infective agent-this tubercle bacillus; its lifehistory was studied, and its relation to the tissues of the animal body during the course of the development of the disease, demonstrated. In the history of the treatment of any infective disease little progress has been made in fighting against it until the causal agent has been demonstrated. Once this stage has been reached, however, the fight waged against infective disease of all kinds has become more and more effective. In the case of tuberculosis, the attack can now be delivered along many parallels. Every patient is looked upon as a possible centre of infection, and before setting about the cure of the patient those dealing with the case have set themselves the task of attacking the bacillus from every quarter and at every point. It is realised that the first thing to be done is to secure it, or kill it, if possible, immediately it leaves the patient, especially, of course, in the sputum, as it comes from the lungs.
In the case of tuberculosis, isolation, in the ordinary sense of the term, is out of the question, but although the patient cannot be segregated from his fellows-and in many cases it would be both unwise and cruel so to dohe should be carefully trained to isolate himself, so far as the tubercle bacillus is concerned, by taking every precaution to prevent any undisinfected material from getting beyond his immediate vicinity. More is necessary, however, than the mere killing of the bacillus as it leaves the human body; some attempt must be made so to build up the strength of the patient that his tissues may be capable of carrying on war with the bacillus either on fairly level terms or on terms in favour of the patient. This can only be done by ensuring good hygienic conditions-plenty of fresh air, light, good food, work enough with plenty of rest. Given these conditions, and the tubercle bacillus has a bad time of it; remove the conditions, and the bad time falls to the patient. It has been stated above that it is often unnecessary to segregate consumptive patients; it must be remembered, however, that in the late stages of the disease, when the patient is weak and when the various discharges from the body, sputum and other excreta, may contain enormous numbers of the infective bacilli, it may be advisable, and even necessary, in the patient's own interests as well as of those who daily come in contact with him, to keep him in hospital, to make his last days, or even weeks or months, as easy and as pleasant as possible for him. Moreover, under these conditions the destruction of the enormous number of tubercle bacilli coming from the body is a comparatively easy matter.
Those interested in the treatment of tuberculosis have for long been convinced that good feeding and fresh air are factors of prime importance in such treatment. Up to a few years ago, however, the results obtained, though very much better than any obtained under the old methods of treatment, were in certain respects extremely disappointing. The patients were not properly classified for treatment, and many died who apparently ought to have lived. Those who went to Whitechapel to learn would find that the treatment of consumptives under Dr. Paterson at
Frimley is a very different thing from the treatment carried on in the early days of sanatoria. Patients are no longer stuffed and rested indiscriminately. They are work, rest, and food on a carefully graduated system; they are taught how to treat themselves-what to do and what to avoid. The sanatorium treatment, however, deals with but a small proportion of the cases; tuberculosis must be tackled on a much more extensive scale. Calmette in Lille and Philip in Edinburgh, seeing the importance of bringing the treatment of tuberculosis to the working classes and even the very poor, have organised what is now known as the dispensary system, in which are combined an intelligence department, an ambulance service, a training school, an out-patient and in-patient hospital service, and a sanatorium department. In Edinburgh the result has been a fall in the death-rate beyond that of other cities equally or more favourably situated, except in that they have not been provided with this well-organised system.
It is recognised that prevention of tuberculosis is certainly more important than its cure, and all interested in this question must realise what enormous impetus has been given to the whole movement by the energetic action taken by the President of the Local Government Board. His keen interest in the Milk Bill, in the Washington Congress on Tuberculosis, and in the Whitechapel Exhibition, his grasp of principles and the wealth of detail contained in his opening address at that exhibition, gave evidence of complete conviction and determination to act up to his conviction. All this marks a great advance in the public treatment of the question in this country. Medical men have long suspected that tuberculous milk was a prolific cause of abdominal consumption amongst their little patients. They have known how readily delicate children recovering from measles, whooping cough, inflammation of the lungs, and similar conditions, have been infected, sometimes from tuberculous patients, at other times, however, under conditions where infection from the human subject appeared to be impossible, and they now welcome with enthusiasm any legislation that will render impossible the spread of tuberculosis by the milk from infected cattle. Medical officers of health, aware of the insanitary conditions under which a large proportion of the population, not only urban, but rural, live, hail with satisfaction the idea that in any well-considered action they may take they will now, not only be commended, but helped. The National Association for the Prevention of Consumption has done well, not only to follow Ireland and America, but to improve upon the methods adopted in those two countries. Nothing but good can be the outcome of this movement, and we hope that the seventy thousand visitors to the Whitechapel Art Gallery will be followed by hundreds of thousands, who will have the opportunity of seeing this or a similar exhibition at the "White City" or on its tour through the large and populous centres of England, and perhaps even of Scotland.
VISION IN RELATION TO HEREDITY
THE Francis Galton Eugenics Laboratory at University College, London, has already done much valuable work in many directions under the supervision of Prof. Karl Pearson. With the assistance of Miss Barrington, a useful inquiry has been made into the question of the inheritance of vision and the relative influence of heredity and environment on sight. The paper is a mathematical investigation of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Of these, two communications by Dr. Adolf Steiger, of Zürich, on the corneal curvature, and the report on 1400 school children issued by the Edinburgh Charity Organisation Society, afford the best material. Other contributory material of less value is taken from reports on the refraction of London elementary-school children by Dr. A. Hugh Thompson and the Education Committee of the 1 University of London. Francis Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics. Eugenics Laboratory Memoirs. V. A First Study of the Inheritance of Vision and of the Relative Influence of Heredity and Environment on Sight. By Amy Barrington and Karl Pearson, F.R.S. Pp. 61. (London: Dulau and Co., 1909.) Price 4s.
London County Council, and on the eyesight of 500 Glasgow school children by Dr. Rowan. Throughout, the difficulty which specially besets such statistical investigations is present in the fact that all the material is intensely selected. There is no means of supplementing it by a knowledge of the distribution of astigmatism and other errors of refraction in the community at large. Thus, in dealing with percentage statistics of the heredity factor in myopia, the authors say that "the distribution of parents of the normal and the proportion of myopes to the normal in the general population (or at any rate in the universe under discussion') must be found before any appreciation of the effect of heredity can be made."
The first moot point which arises in dealing with the inheritance of refraction concerns the determination of the unit to be used to obtain a quantitative scale. It is now customary to measure the refraction in terms of the refractive power of the correcting lens instead of, as formerly, in terms of its focal distance. When the variations of the mean values in the population are small compared with the mean value in the individuals under discussion, it matters little which unit is adopted. This is true of corneal refraction (3 per cent.), but untrue of corneal astigmatism (75 per cent.). The difficulty is overcome by using, whenever possible, the method of contingency, fundamentally, or for purposes of control.
Investigation of the inheritance of corneal astigmatism leads to the conclusion that it is certainly inherited, as evidenced by minimum limits of 0-3 to the parental and of 0-4 to the fraternal coefficients, but the material is neither sufficient nor sufficiently classified to determine with any degree of certainty the accurate value of the inheritance coefficients. The authors point out that "there is a splendid field for a man who will measure the corneal astigmatism in a non-selected population.' this would be an easy and accurate task with the ophthalmometer there ought to be no difficulty in getting it carried out. Investigation of corneal refraction shows that it is inherited at the same rate as other physical characters in man. In dealing with the inter-relations of refraction, keenness of vision, and age, the results show how much more influence myopia has on visual acuity than hypermetropia, and that refraction defects contribute more than half the abnormality of keenness of vision. They further show that there is not the least doubt of a sensible relationship of age to each of the several categories of eye defect. It is probable that a great deal of hypermetropia, hypermetropic and mixed astigmatism disappears, probably owing to growth, between six and ten, thus swelling the number of emmetropic eyes, but that after this age there is not sufficient evidence to say whether these categories vary or not. Myopia and myopic astigmatism increase throughout, but this increase does not balance the total gain due to rectification by growth; it may be caused by continued action of some environmental factor, or by a growth factor.
The general conclusions derived from the slender data of this first study are as follows:-There is no evidence whatever that overcrowded, poverty-stricken homes, or physically ill-conditioned or immoral parentages are markedly detrimental to the children's eyesight. There is no sufficient evidence that school environment has a deleterious effect on the eyesight of children. Though changes of vision occur during school years, they are phases of one law of growth, a passage from hypermetropia emmetropia and myopia of the eyes of "unstable stocks." There is ample evidence that refraction and keenness of vision are inherited characters, and that the degree of correlation between the eyesight of pairs of relatives is of a wholly different order to the correlation of eyesight with home environment. Intelligence as judged by the teacher is correlated with vision in only a moderate manner (p. 16). We scarcely think that the data justify so strongly worded an ex cathedra statement as that made by the authors in conclusion :-" The first thing is good stock, and the second thing is good stock, and the third thing is good stock, and when you have paid attention to these three things fit environment will keep your material in good condition. No environmental or educational grindstone is of service unless the tool to be ground is of genuine steel-of tough race and tempered stock."
CHILD EMPLOYMENT AND EVENING
ANOTHER appendix volume, No. 20, to the report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress has been published (Cd. 4632), and incidentally indicates the directions which educational effort should take in this country in order to ensure the provision in future years of better educated workmen in the various industries on which the success of this country depends.
The report is by Mr. Cyril Jackson, chairman of the Education Committee of the London County Council, who acted for the commission as a special investigator to inquire and report on the main occupations followed by boys on leaving public elementary schools in certain typical towns; the opportunities of promotion in such occupations or of training for other occupations; and the extent to which such boys subsequently obtain regular employment (skilled or unskilled) as adults. Mr. Jackson was given power to make any feasible suggestions of a remedial character indicated by the facts, and he limited his investigations to a consideration of the prospects of permanence and educative value for adult industry of the occupations entered upon by the boys with whom he was concerned.
As regards the methods of inquiry adopted, it may be said that Mr. Jackson was able, from the sources of statistical information he found available, to obtain an idea of the various occupations in which there was an apparent excess of boys who could not when adults be absorbed in the same branch of industry. He afterwards, by interviews and by the distribution among employers of special forms to be filled up, obtained some further information as to these occupations; but he met with many difficulties, and only a small proportion of the forms were returned to him. In addition, a form of industrial biography for young men was issued to obtain direct evidence of the length of time boys remain in particular occupations and the age at which they were displaced if they have been in boys' work which does not lead to permanent employment as adults; but a third only of the forms circulated were filled up and returned-" Lads are always suspicious of anything which they think is prying into their affairs, and they believe there must be something behind,'' says Mr. Jackson.
There has been a steady diminution in the number of boys employed under fifteen during the last quarter of a century. With the recent stimulus given to secondary education, and counting on the zeal of new education authorities, there is reason to believe the decrease may be even more marked in the next census return. There are. however, exceptions to this decrease. The census general report of 1901 states, "while owing to the restriction of child labour, the total number of boys under fifteen years, returned as employed, showed a decrease of 12.9 per cent. on the numbers enumerated in 1891, the number of messenger boys at the same ages declined by only 5.1 per cent. It is, however, satisfactory to note how few are the trades in which an actual or a proportional increase in the number of boys is shown. As Mr. Jackson says, messenger boys have a very short life as such, and this form of occupation ceases as soon as the boys begin to require higher wages. It is unfortunate, therefore, that it should be just in this class that the decrease in boy employment is least marked.
The problem presented by the results of Mr. Jackson's inquiry is very grave in character, and the various statements of it collected in the present volume may be commended to the careful consideration of those who administer our educational affairs. Similarly, the opinions here collated of schoolmasters, of men working in boys' clubs, &c., of trades unionists, of distress committees, and others, deserve earnest study.
The analysis of the numerous forms received by Mr. Jackson proved a long and difficult task, and he is to be congratulated upon the important facts he has been able to gather together. The information respecting the capacity of boys, the wages they are able to earn, and the precise conditions regulating boy labour in specially selected industries, will repay careful deliberation, and may
The evidence as to the difficulty boys find in getting into permanent work of a satisfactory kind seems overwhelming. Every inquirer gives the same impression.
The work of an errand boy or a telegraph messenger is bad for the boy, so is the work of a boy in a warehouse or factory who is employed to fasten labels to bottles, to fill packets of tea, or the like. It is not so much a question of a skilled trade not being taught as of work which is deteriorating, absorbing the years of the boy's life when he most needs educational expansion in the widest sense.
Mere skill of hand or eye is not everything. It is character and sense of responsibility which requires to be fostered, and " not only morals, but grit, stamina, mental energy, steadiness, toughness of fibre, endurance,' must be trained and developed. Work which is monotonous Kills development, and work which is intermittent destroys perseverance and power of concentration. The waste of boys' brains, character, and strength is ultimately not only destructive of the individual, but a serious economic loss to the community. It is probable that boy labour is not really cheap at all, owing to the undeveloped responsibility and carelessness of the young, but if the unskilled men who spring from them have been mentally and physically stunted, the loss to the employers is enormous, for they cannot earn a sufficient wage to live properly, and their output is below that required from an adult citizen.
In the large industries there should be a readjustment of conditions, but probably the initiative must come from an extension of State regulation of boy labour. This can be most easily effected by further raising the age of school attendance, or by a system of compulsory continuation schools. It must be recognised that much boys' work is wholly uneducative, and deteriorates instead of developing the man, and that this must be prevented. One of the largest industries-the textile-is still partly based on halftime child labour. It is probable that the operatives are really more to blame for this than the employers, many of whom are not very satisfied as to the advantages of child labour. The old contention that the manipulative skill required compelled the employment of children of twelve, because after that age their fingers lose suppleness, is not now heard so frequently.
One thing which appears likely to be of far-reaching benefit to the boy is increased education. Thus Mr. Kittermaster gives as his remedies :--
(1) Boys should be kept at school until the age of fifteen instead of fourteen.
(2) Exemption below this age should only be granted for boys leaving to learn a skilled trade.
(3) There should be school supervision until sixteen, and replacement in school if not properly employed.
Prof. Sadler and the Rev. Spencer Gibb suggest compulsory half-time schools, or, at any rate, some compulsory school until sixteen or seventeen. Mr. Gibb would like to see further amendments of the Shop Hours Acts so as to avoid the possibility of excessive hours of labour on certain days of the week. He points out, also, that the present Acts need to be more thoroughly enforced.
This inquiry seems to show that these reforms are necessary. The raising of the age of exemption would strengthen the boy, and he would be kept longer under discipline, and would become both steadier in character and more intelligent. It can hardly be seriously contended that the boy of the working man is really more fit for life than the public-school boy at the age of fourteen who is admittedly unready at that age.
It must not, however, be supposed that the present education given in the schools is all that can be desired.