Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]

THE

AMERICAN LAW REVIEW.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY, 1914.

AMERICAN LIBERTY PROTECTED AND RULED

BY LAW.

The foreigner who takes the train at Eastport and travels through Boston, New Haven, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Chicago, St. Louis and Denver, to San Francisco and Seattle, stopping at this place and that as he journies, to study the life and business of men and women, is struck by the prosperity and activity of our people. Full of life, full of energy, and full of hope. To many millions America has been what Mary Antin calls it in her wonderful book—“The Promised Land” _“flowing with milk and honey”'_"the glory of all lands.”

Now, I am well aware that in this long journey the traveler would also witness suffering and sin, cruelty and oppression. But he would behold on every side earnest, conscientious men and women, some of whom are trying to mitigate the suffering and others to cure the disease. There are churches and synagogues, school houses, libraries, and temples of justice. There are ministers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, captains and soldiers of industry, all integral parts of the body politic and striving loyally to do their duty to God and man. No doubt also there are greedy, licentious, luxurious, extravagant men and women. But was there ever a time when the public

VOL. XLVIII. .

(1)

RECAP)
BONJUN 231915 335929

122

conscience was so keen to see and condemn evil? The calumnies of the press, bitter as they sometimes are, unconsciously bear witness to an aroused public conscience, which cannot bear what it knows to be evil and struggles to overcome it. The struggle often is hysterical, the outcry unreasonable. But it is better than silence, a thousand times better than indifference.

The improvement in social conditions that the candid observer witnesses on every side is the result of gradual development. No doubt the introduction of machinery and of the steam engine in the eighteenth century and the extension of their use in the early part of the nineteenth led to many oppressive and burdensome conditions. Families were crowded. The hours of labor in factories and mines were often excessive, and children were set to work in a way that was destructive of childhood. But the public conscience soon quickened to the magnitude of these evils. In England Lord Shaftsbury was leader in the attempt to improve the conditions of working people and to restrict their hours of labor within reasonable limits. Soon intelligent and conscientious owners of factories came to realize that in their construction and management attention should be paid not only to the immediate product, but to the treatment of the workmen. Improvements in these respects have been steadily introduced. As long ago as 1882 in Connecticut I saw the great factories of the Willimantic Thread Company, under the management of Colonel Burrows. They were well ventilated and well lighted. Flowers were kept in the windows and constant attention was paid to the removal of the filaments of cotton which naturally separated themselves in the process of manufacture. In the Hope Mills, in Rhode Island, belonging to the Goddard family—in the woolen mills in the same State belonging to the Hazard family, I saw not long afterwards similar attention paid to the comfort and convenience of the working people. The same is true in remarkable degree of the factories of the Cash Register Company, in Dayton, Ohio.

« PreviousContinue »