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and yet more of the streets are schools of untidiness. As cesspools are banished, so also the speak-easy, the gambling den, and the houses of ill fame, and all their kin should be swept out of our cities. The main purpose of governmental action against vice is to banish from town or county or state or nation those who make commercial profit by inducing others to engage in some form of dissipation—to banish the vice promoter. That cuts the tap root of greed, whose associate roots, lust and appetite, are not strong enough by themselves to make the upas tree of vice to thrive.
The great problems of municipalism can never be solved by the kid-gloved tippling clubmen who fight taxes but not vices. Those who would save a city must have a nobler ideal than "a business administration.” They must indeed feel as Jesus did when he wept over Jerusalem not because taxes were increasing but because the city was missing its moral opportunity to co-operate with the Christ in doing good to men.
A fitting motto for our city halls, a fitting text for a municipal reform sermon, would be the words of Jacob, when, reconciled to Esau, he declined the latter's offer that his caravan might have the place of honor at the front as they journeyed homeward. "Nay,” said Jacob, in substance, "you go first, for your company is composed of full grown warriors, and I will lead on softly according to the pace of the children." If a city was inhabited only by men, full grown in mind as well as body, we should have little need of law. But as there are little feet and untrained eyes in our streets, we must make our city plans to suit their needs. For one thing, parents acting together through their city governments, in which the votes of fathers and mothers are now a majority, should ring their children in from the deadly peril of
street roving at night by an official curfew bell. It is very hard for parents to accomplish that except by law, which is the united action of parents."
When a king asked the Spartans for fifty of their children as hostages, they replied: "We would rather give a hundred of our most distinguished citizens; for they have been defeated, while our children may yet live to conquer; they have done their best; our children will yet live to do their best.”
But how careless are modern “city fathers” who by licensing or tolerating evid traffics surrender our boys and girls as hostages to the worst enemies of the city!
We must train the children to defend themselves and their country. It is the custom every year in the city of Hamburg to celebrate a famous victory which was won by little children more than four hundred years ago. In one of its numerous sieges, Hamburg was reduced to the last extremity, and it was suggested that all the children should be sent out unprotected into the camp of the besiegers as the mute appeal for mercy of the helpless and the innocent. This was done. The rough soldiery of the investing army saw with amazement, and then with pity, a long procession of little ones, clad in white, come out of the city and march boldly into their camp. The sight melted their hearts. They threw down their arms, and, plucking branches of fruit from the neighboring cherry orchards, they gave them to the children to take back to the city as a token of peace. This victory has ever since been commemorated at Hamburg by a procession of boys and girls dressed in white, and
7 For further discussion of city problems, whose discussion is introduced in this chapter, see the Forums of Part II and such words in alphabetical index at close as labor, Sunday, gambling, playgrounds, public baths, motion pictures, dances, prostitution. Also apply, with stamp, to National Municipal League, Philadelphia, for latest information and literature on municipal reform.
Courtesy of Associated Press NEW YORK CONFERENCE OF Y. M. C. A. BOYS AND
THEIR LEADERS "Building boys is better than mending men.” Give the boys a chance
by smashing the traps for the young.
carrying branches of cherry trees in their hands. So the "Boy Scouts” and “Girl Scouts" and "Campfire Girls,” the millions of Sunday school children and public school children, and the Young People's Associations, if faithfully trained for health and efficiency, for morality and patriotism and religion, will conquer the evils that now besiege our cities.
The Young Men's Christian Association is a moral necessity of life in cities. The city that lacks it advertises its neglect of the young and of its own true welfare. Here is a fine sample of its work from a bulletin issued years ago by the Lynn Y. M. C. A. giving true stories of its helpfulness to young men.
The Transformation of Thomas Taft “I said to myself, ‘Tommie, it's up to you,' and then I set out to do it.
“When I came to the city the odds were all against me, and the worst was I didn't know it. I was eighteen. I couldn't see things. I hadn't found myself. I needed work, so I looked for a job. I didn't care for the job, but I had to have the money. The fellows in the shop were a clever lot, and luck put me at work next to one of the best. That's how I began to see things; that's how I found myself.
"We used to read and talk after we'd had our dinner, and one day he came across an old newspaper that had been put in the bottom of his lunch-box. He read something in it and handed it to me.
“It said, “A bar of iron worth $5, worked into horseshoes, is worth $10.50; made into needles, worth $355; made into penknife blades, worth $3,285; made into balance-springs for watches, it is worth $250,000. What a drilling the bar must have undergone to reach all that!