OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, May 31, 1913, NOON EDITION, Image 14

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-05-31/ed-1/seq-14/

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The discussion4 falls naturally into
three divisions first of all, how does
it affect the child? And the answer
to this is, to me, instant and con
clusive. It is a matter of simple jus
tice tp the child. Nearly all men will
admit, even the libertines will admit,
that a, babe should not be held re-
sponsible for the wrong-doing of its
sire or dam. "What has the infant
done that he should begin life with a
legal badge of shame written upon
his face? Has he not the same nat
ural right that any other child has to
a fair name and an honorable place
in the social order? His need of
protection is far keener and his dan
ger more pressing.
Why "should the child of self-sacrificing
love begin life disowned, dis
honored, an unwelcome burden to
the state or to organized charity,
while his libertine progenitor goes
gaily on his way of irresponsible dal
liance with other women?
In case the child is a girl, these
questions are still more poignant, in
finitely more searching. The proba
bilities: that the girl child of such a
union will develop into a tragic crea
ture of the night are strong, for with
out the protection of father, mother
or family, it is almost a miracle when
such an orphan grows to womanhood
uncorrupted and secure.
The conditions of the maternity
hospitals of our cities are butob
scurely known, their records are elu
sive and yet enough has been re
ported by their"heads to warrant the
statement that the birth of illegiti
mate children is on the increase and
that farming them out is common
and their actual murder not un
known. It needs no special investigation to
understand that the tendency of
these outlawed boys is to become
criminals and the tendency of these
fatherless' girls is to become prosti
tutes. How can be confidently ex
pect the illegitimate child to grow to
pure womanhood, to valiant man
f hood. - . . . i
The acts which we call immoralrte
or criminal are, for the most part, -,3
survivals of primitive conditions of r
the race, and retrogression in the',
best of us is terribly easy. It is nat-
ural, even, for the sons and daugh
ters of refined and cultivated homes - .
to yield to the alluring mystery of
sex,. for it is the most fundamental j5
need of the race, inexorable as hun- t?
ger. It has kept the earth teeming r
with the midgets, we call men for a
million years and must continue ,to t
do so. The wonder is not that so ,
many girl "fall," but that so many
rise above temptations. How can we ,
expect the foundling, the branded
child, to walk the straight and nar-a
row way alone? i.
One of the judges of Chicago wass
quoted in aTecent issue of the Chi-s?
cago Tribune to have said hat of theio
many cases of 'delinquency" broughttil
against girls in his dourt, more thann
75 per cent began with the birth ol
a child. They were mothers by rea
son of a certain Innocency, a certain
naive surrender to the power of love. . '
The child of such a mother should ui
not be denied the fundamental rights. u
of a son and heir.
There is no excuse and no reason
for illegitimacy except that all laws, .
past and present, have been written.r
by men and for the protection ofv
men women and children haye been n
considered only so far as the mala i
sense of justice and mercy -wasiL
aroused. Man's property rights, itai
would seem, are more sacred thanT
the souls and bodies of his "natural"
children.
There are those who say that noth,-.
ing can be done; that this evil hasuf
always existed and that jt always Id
must. This, we deny. Because a
wrong has existed for a million years
is no reason for its continued exist
ence. N 3
Walt Whitman has said; "All thatD
the past was not, the future will be.',r
Conditions stable throughout thei
centuries suddenly break up, melt
and disappear, like ice from-a iro2ett a

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