International Cooperation for Social Welfare (fragment), July 2, 1924


We may illustrate from the health work at present carried on by the British government. The finest women's hospital I ever saw, is in Delhi. It was founded by English women, doctors and nurses, but is gradually being placed in the hands of native Indian physicians ↑all women↓ who are working out a sound hospital technique which is really quite astonishing. I do not believe there is a social worker in this audience who has not at times longed to bundle the entire family into the hospital when the mother goes there, but I cannot imagine a social worker who would have the temerity to propose such a thing to the ↓a↓ hospital management or the courage to meet the attitude of pained surprise. But in Delhi they have almost accomplished it. In the Lying-In hospital the wards are built around a quadrangle, into which both the wards and private rooms open. Back of the private room is built a larger room opening into the street and forming the outside of the quadrangle. Into this large room which is also equipped with the ↓a↓ scullery for housekeeping purposes, come the husband, and all the children and the mother-in-law, they all stay ↓live↓ there as long as the mother stays in her room. and They get on very well ↓and↓ I could not see that the hospital discipline was at all injured by ↓thereby.↓ this. The members of the family are not allowed to come into the quadrangle although they come and go freely into the patient's room. I naturally asked "How did you bring it about?" And the answer was "Because we could not get the women to come in any other way." [page 2]

↓Part of address [from?] Toronto↓

I told them that at home we ↓too↓ had lots of women who would not come to a hospital in any other way and that they therefore [stayed] at home. They said "the conditions in many homes are too unspeakable, the women cannot stay there, we had to have them and so we had to bring the entire family." We saw one of the little mothers, not more than sixteen, lying in bed with her second baby who was also the second daughter. The poor mother was in despair and had been weeping constantly for three days. and nights. The doctors were alarmed, saying that unless the hysteria was stopped the consequences might be grave. They had done everything possible to allay her grief, but in vain. She apparently preferred death to her disgrace. The whole situation of these women patients has to be considered de novo, so to speak, and as we went about the hospital we saw the various nurses caring for each patient according to her religious demands, we realized that the hospital had been humanized and adapted to a remarkable extent -- one more example of the [marvelous] adaptability of the British Colonial policy. Although in this particular instance it was displayed in allowing the social workers to make their own adaptation. [page 3]

Some of the industrial evils in China are being "tackled" by the English people and Americans who are living there. In Shanghai the head of the industrial department of the Young Women's Christian Association, Agatha Harrison, is a graduate of the Indian School of Economics ↑and↓ well equipped to cope with that tremendous problem of child labor. Shanghai is an international city, and it is hard to understand why it should not legislate for itself and abolish the work of children in the factories. in that city. Unhappily it is possible to find very little children in many factories there. The English and Americans say that they can do nothing about it unless the Japanese employers do and they in turn use others for an excuse and so they all go on. I never saw such little children in a factory as we saw making matches and although China has a law preventing phossy jaw, it can easily be found. Miss Harrison and others are quite determined that this sort of thing must be stopped at least in the city of Shanghai, also that schools must be established for the children ↓who may be turned out of the factories.↓ The Americans, the Japanese, the French and other manufacturers, if they owned mills on their home territories ↓would↓ be obliged to pay taxes for the education of children living in ↓[the]↓ territory, they should of course do the same thing in Shanghai, but it is a long, hard, slow process to bring it about even in a city with an international government ↓of its own↓ which could so easily be a model to all the rest of China. In describing industrial conditions in Shanghai one should always mention the child labor reforms inaugurated in one large factory belonging to a Chinese "native Christian" who is taking his religion seriously and is quite convinced of the wrong, as he expressed it, of injuring the ↓spiritual↓ welfare of little children.

Most of the social workers here doubtless know of the [page 4] comprehensive survey made of the city of Peking by two Americans ↓Messrs↓ Burgess and Gamble, which is forming the basis of several needed reforms in the industrial civilization taken over so bodily from the west ↓and↓ which ↓often↓ fits in so badly with the old industrial conditions. Mr. Burgess ↓who↓ is in charge of the industrial section of the Y.M.C.A. has established the beginnings of a school of social work and is planning to carry out the [illegible] ↓Peking↓ project on the lines of social service the ↓with↓ technical skill and with a city-wide cooperation.

One aspect of child labor amelioration in Peking is being undertaken by the Methodist mission there said to be one of the largest missions enclosed in one compound in any part of the world. They are much distressed over the condition of little children who make Chinese rugs from the time they are nine or ten years old until they are eleven or twelve. They are paid no wages beyond "board and keep" because they are apprenticed to learn a trade. But when they have learned to make the rugs, they are turned out because the manufacturers do not wish to pay them permanent wages and a new set of children are taken on. As a result there are many men in Peking who know how to make rugs but the rugs are supplied to the market are actually made by little children under twelve. The Methodist missionaries in their efforts to change the method say that this is not the western way and again the Chinese are getting a conception of what is decent ↑[illegible]↓ from the missionary and from the social worker who combine a governmental and humanitarian standpoint. Near Peking is maintained a remarkable George Junior Republic, made up of children saved from the great famine. There is one for boys and one for girls, where is carried out what they hope will be a real training for citizenship in the new self-governing republic which they are establishing. These little girls, so [illegible] ↓[untrammeled]↓ [page 5] and so intelligent always recall a certain impression that I believe it is perhaps well for some of us, who are growing older to remember: namely, that in China, as perhaps in some other countries, the great factor against reform seems to be the old women. There is no doubt that the Chinese would stop binding their children's feet if the old women would permit it. It is against the law; the men do not want it because women with bound feet are not so useful in the new ↓type↓ of society which is developing, the younger women do not want it, and (some of the more progressive ones are wearing stuffed shoes to hide the fact that their feet have been bound) but the old women say that feet always have been bound and therefore always must be bound, and there we are, -- the custom still prevailing.

In Japan, the finest piece of social work which I saw there, is being carried on by a graduate ↓of the University whose walls are sheltering us tonight --↓ of the University of Toronto -- Caroline [Macdonald]. She lives ↓Her home↓ in [Tokyo], her house is filled with a spirit of which we should all be proud ↓could we create it in our houses↓. She began by taking in boys who had been arrested for trivial offenses whom the judges was ↑were↓ more and more willing to turn over to her, on a sort of probation, and from that has grown a very genuine and understanding relationship with much of the criminal population of the city. In her book, "A Gentleman in Prison," -- which is not a good title, to my mind, for although the man was a remarkable person he was not a gentleman in any sense, -- we get a certain revelation of the entire prison system in Japan and of the social work which Miss [Macdonald] has established. Her house was shaken down by the earthquake, but although she may be living in a shed at the moment, I am willing to venture the opinion that she is doing a fine quality of work. [page 6]

We have all been interested in what Dr. René Sand has just told us of an international gathering of social workers which is planned for next year. I sincerely hope that among the nations represented there will be those of the Orient by social workers who are [page 7] characterized with that peculiar seriousness and devotion belonging to the pioneers in any movement. They are still close to the mystery of life not yet lost in their cases but realizing as perhaps few of us do, the great burden and social consequence of their daily living.

I have said nothing of the [Philippines], of Korea and of half a dozen other countries in which I might have found illustrations but even with this [meager] material I wish I might make you feel that we belong to a great body representing the ↓a↓ vast ↓fund of↓ moral energy which rightly directed may make over some of the saddest features of this old globe, so long populated with those oppressed by disease, poverty and ignorance. [page 8]

Out of our own ↓[illegible]↓ experience, we know that we quote the past ↓[illegible]↓ as an excuse for ourselves only ↓[illegible]↓ in moments when the current of life runs low, and the sense of progressive activity ↓effective vitality↓ is weak, that one of the dangers of life, ↓[illegible]↓ one of its veritable moral pits consists in the temptation to remain constant to a truth [when] we no longer wholly believe it, when it ceases to accord to our faithful experience of life or to our most sympathetic insights. [page 9]

↑Toronto speech↓