Page images

priate, conclusion. In chap. 14 the author examines the principle of population in the communistic society, which is a subject hardly touched upon by Kropotkin. His conclusion is clearly in favor of collectivism. The ideal is the anarchistic communism, but it is an ideal which will never be reached-so he says not even in a theoretical infinite. We fully agree with this conclusion. A. AND H. HAMON.

The Principles of Relief. By EDWARD T. DEVine, Ph.D., LL.D. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1904. Pp. 495.

One of the most competent leaders of intelligent philanthropy, a man with the highest academic equipment at the basis of a long, varied, and successful career in the administration of the Charity Organization Society of New York city, has done well to give to the public the ripe results of his reflections. While a certain amount of repetition of thoughts already published was inevitable in a systematic treatise, every chapter and paragraph has its justification. In Part I (pp. 1-181) there is a strong, clear, logical presentation of the essential "principles of relief," and it is here that we come in contact with the matured conclusions of a mind trained in modern scientific method as well as in the varied experiences of practical labors. The fundamental and most fruitful idea of this discussion is that there is a normal standard of living which can be known and approximately measured, and that all relief work is to be judged by its success in aiding social debtors to find their place in a normal and well-balanced life. Most citizens are able to attain this standard without special help from charity, but many others would either perish or become degraded without such assistance.

Following the clear statement of this central thought is a sane and convincing analysis of the regulative principles which should guide charitable persons and associations in their work. The groups of special problems are treated under the heads: elimination of disease, the housing problem, relief of families in homes, breaking up of families, dependent children, dependent adults, family desertion, intemperance, industrial displacement, immigration, discrimination in relief.

In Part II (pp. 185-266) is printed a most interesting and instructive collection of typical relief problems, taken mainly from cases recorded in the Registration Bureau of the New York Charity

Organization Society. Part III (pp. 269-357) is a sketch of certain aspects of relief; the English poor-law, and outdoor relief in America. Part IV (pp. 361-468) gives the story of relief methods at times of disasters—the Chicago fire, the Johnstown flood, etc. The criticism of the current belief that the reform of the poor-law in England in 1834 was the chief cause of better industrial conditions for the laborers is excellent, and the principle that such measures can be appreciated only in relation to the historical situation is sound. The author has set up a defense of material relief-giving which ought to correct the miser's bias and help the generous to feel that they are not foolish if they give bountifully, if they also give wisely; and no author has ever succeeded better in telling us what it is to give wisely.

There are certain points on which there is room for hesitation and question, although one may well pause before he challenges so eminent and careful an authority. Without going into details, one may mention the optimistic estimates of the need for relief, this need being measured by the standard set up by Dr. Devine himself. The facts of infant mortality, the numerous deaths from "starvation diseases," the miserably inadequate amounts doled out to needy families, the testimony of physicians, teachers, and missionaries, seem not to have due consideration in this book. Some of our leading workers in childsaving societies will not be ready to accept the estimates of cost, or the arguments which seem unduly favorable to institutional treatment, or the representation that the placing-out system is burdening the rural community in order to relieve the rich cities. The advice to churches to cease giving material relief runs counter to ancient traditions, but the author's argument deserves serious thought.

Looking back over the literature of charity produced during the last twenty years in America, we are bound to place this volume in the very front rank, with few companions in the specific field; and we must regard it as indispensable to the serious student of the general subject.


Poverty. By ROBERT HUNTER. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1904. Pp. 382.

In his volume, entitled Poverty, Robert Hunter has rendered for the United States the same service which Frederick Engels rendered to England sixty years ago by the publication of his volume on The

Condition of the Working Class. In each case the author has revealed the struggle of the wage-earning poor, and of those who have been worsted and have sunk below the level of the wageearners; and in each case the extent and dimensions of the picture are such as had not been attempted by a previous author in the same field.

Frederick Engels' book has not been superseded by the work of more recent investigators. It remains the classic presentation of the life of the poor in England in the decade 1840-50. Some of the prophecies of the young author have not been fulfilled after sixty years, because it is given to no man unerringly to read the future. Recognizing this fact, Robert Hunter has striven to avoid the allurements of prophecy and to confine himself to describing and interpreting the phenomena among which we all live, though few of us possess the vision requisite to the work of interpretation.

No student of philanthropy, or of sociology, can afford to ignore this book. Its main contentions concerning the extent of poverty and the active immediate causes thereof may well become the subject of wide and fruitful discussion. It is reasonable to expect that the charge of exaggeration may be brought with regard to the extent of poverty as defined by the author and also with regard to the influence of immigration. But candid effort to refute the author's position will only bring to light once more the sorry inconclusiveness of the official figures upon the collection and publication of which the individual states and the federal government expend vast sums for sadly unscientific results.

The list of authorities cited is, perhaps, somewhat weakened by the inclusion of names so little convincing to the scientific reader as those of Mrs. Van Vorst and Mr. W. J. Ghent; but when all deductions on the grounds of inclusiveness have been made, the arsenal of facts here brought to the attention of the critic must command the respect of the candid.


Politique et religion: Questions du temps présent. By J. B. RIPERT. Paris: Perrin, 1904. Pp. xi + 287. Fr. 3.50. This book, which is easily read, contains a little of everything, but nothing very deep. A few titles of chapters will give an idea of the book: "Politics;" "The Parties in Parliament;" "A Few Out

ward Signs of Morality;" "On the Foundations of Morals;" "Rational Character of the Religious Feeling." In short, the aim of the book is to prove the superiority of the religious doctrine as the foundation of morals, and the necessity for France to be religious if she will live and progress. This demonstration is made with the usual commonplace topics, and the arguments are so weak that it would be a loss of time to try to refute them. The social phenomena are observed and analyzed in quite a superficial way. The deductions often make us smile, and the few just ones which we meet scattered through the book are marred by commonplace repetitions. To think that the author is a member of Parliament and means to rule France! M. Ripert declares as an axiom: "The loss of the family spirit is the result of the dissolution of the marriages" (p. 32), forgetting to prove the existence of this loss, and, in case it should be admitted, that divorce is really the cause. Elsewhere (p. 61) we read this extraordinary assertion: "Nothing could induce the beggar to give up his lucrative profession"! The proof is still more extraordinary than the assertion. Here it is in all its ingenuity: "In spite of the foundation of works of assistance through labor, in spite of the bureau de bienfaisance and the public aid of which the beggar does not forget to make the most, mendicity is ever increasing." We must confess that such demonstrations disarm the critic by their puerility. The book is full of assertions imperturbably expressed as axiomatic truths, when they really need to be proved and fully demonstrated. In short, Politique et religion is an insignificant book which the student of sociology should not read if he values his time.

A. AND H. H.


Methods of Industrial Peace. By N. P. GILMAN. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1904. Pp. 436. The student of social movements has a doubly difficult task; not only is there a rapid growth of knowledge through critical investigations, but the facts themselves change while we are looking at the stream. Therefore we must have new books on the labor question." It was desirable, for example, to place the results of the studies of the Industrial Commission in intelligible form for the public to consider. Within the last ten years experiments have been tried on a vast scale. The "sliding scale," once so generally accepted as a panacea, has fallen into disrepute.

It was well, therefore, that a skilful and sober student, as Professor Gilman is, should gather up the sure results of these recent investigations and practical experiments, and interpret their significance. This he has done in sixteen chapters, in which he discusses with utmost impartiality the combinations of employers and of workingmen, collective bargaining, the sliding scale, the incorporation of industrial unions, boards of conciliation and arbitration, and legal regulation of labor disputes. The treatment is characterized by insight, sobriety, and accurate learning.

The author rightly thinks that wage-workers need a better training in the elements of economic science, and he adds: "Commonschool education should be so revised that some tuition in these matters shall be given before the boy gets out into the world as a worker at fourteen or sixteen." How many boys at fourteen could comprehend such instruction? A better suggestion is found in the schools for adults in New York city; because only the superficial aspect of economic activity can be understood by children.


Out of Work. By FRANCES A. KELLOR. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904. Pp. 292.

Miss Kellor's previous studies of convict women and correctional institutions gave her an admirable preparation for the investigation of employment bureaus. It was high time to concentrate attention upon these useful but much-abused agencies. The descriptions of places and people are spicy enough, but the analysis of the connection of intelligence offices with vice and suffering touches the tragic. No previous study has accumulated such a wealth of information on this vital problem. The author has very properly aimed to give a clear and adequate statement of the entire situation and has dealt out advice sparingly. Yet she has probably suggested about all the measures for betterment which give any promise of immediate usefulness.


Life in Sing Sing. By NUMBER 1500. Indianapolis: The BobbsMerrill Co., 1904.

The story of a convict is not wholesome for general reading, but may be useful to students of criminal sociology. There is danger from the bias of cynicism and resentment which clouds the vision of

« PreviousContinue »