Problems of a Great City

White, Arnold


PROBLEMS unsolved, and prayers ungranted abound. No problem is more perplexing than the steady advance of democratic power, while the physical and mental strength and health of a large fraction of the democracy are undermined by the conditions of their lives. Democratic Government means the inclusion of those who are ignorant of the laws of hereditary transmission, who are least prepared to lay down present ease for future good, and who are least accustomed to resist the impulse of passion or the suggestions of desire. Democratic Government means the inclusion of those who are the results of immature,


and often of pauper, marriages. Medical science mitigates suffering, but preserves the diseased. Maladies arising from profligacy are controlled and half cured. Natural penalties of excess are remitted by medical science. Sanitary precautions, poor laws, vaccination, hospitals, charity, save from death and preserve to marry and to vote, thousands of those who must lead dismal and imperfect lives, and who, but for the meddling of science, would have died. Thus, the destinies of England depend on the issue of a struggle between moral and mental enlightenment and mental and physical deterioration. Tainted constitutions, brains charged with subtle mischief, and languishing or extinct morality, transmit a terrible inheritance of evil to the next generation, there to taint once more a whole community. And those who multiply as ephemera are the squalid inhabitants of hovels subsisting on degraded and adulterated foods; and acquiring their joys from the gratification of lust, and the absorption in excess of drugged and poisonous forms of alcohol. We thus have a practical example of the fact that the tendency of the


higher civilization is to multiply from the lower and not from the higher specimens of the race. A higher average of life has been bought at the price of a lower average of health. In low and miserable neighbourhoods the amount of labour lost in the year, not by illness, but by sheer exhaustion and inability to do the work, amounts, on the lowest average, to twenty days in the year.[1] 

The species is being propagated and continued increasingly, though not of course exclusively, from the idle, unthrifty, undersized, and unfit. As luxury and success corrupt the , is corrupted by want and failure. As in the West there are those who, born to wealth, revelling in wealth, are destitute of the qualities by which wealth is won, or its possession made a blessing to the community: so in the East, those born to poverty, wallowing in misery, are, many of them, devoid of the qualities by which life is sustained in dignity, if not in comfort, and perpetuated by means of a healthy and capable progeny. Comfort-worship in the West leads to extravagant


. prudence. Comfort-worship in the East leads to despair and its consequences. It is thus that the very rich and the very poor marry as early as they please-the motive to abstain is absent from either class. The trustworthy, energetic element of the population-those who long to rise and do not choose to sink-abstain from marriage. Favourites of fortune and the desperate classes are those who most freely undertake the responsibilities of parentage, and from whom the population is replenished.

If it be monstrous that the weak should be destroyed by the strong, how much more repugnant it is to instinct and to reason that the strong and capable should be overwhelmed by the feeble, ailing, and unfit ? To prevent such a catastrophe it is needful that society should recognize as essential -

1. That, preceding the production of children, should be the power or the prospect of maintaining them.

2. That the propagation of diseased or infected constitutions shall be condemned, or even regarded as criminal. Such diseases as scrofula, consumption, and syphilis are amenable


to the conditions under which leprosy and plague have become extinct diseases in England and in . A moderate expansion of this idea would lead to the extermination of the unfit as a class.

3. That idleness and dissipation are discreditable in all classes.

As our tenderness to suffering is accompanied by a gentleness towards wrong, it is impossible to grapple with the suffering caused by wrong without shocking the gentleness of society.

One , forty years ago, hit on a theory which has since received the sanction of better known men. The lower down in the scale of creation, and the worse fed, the greater the fertility, was the substance of his idea. The whale brings forth but one or two at a birth. Animalculæ forming the staple diet of the whale provide for posterity millions of their kind. Elephants and herrings, the dwellers in and in , are examples testifying to the accuracy of observations made by the late . It is regrettable that the relative fecundity of the


comfortable and the uncomfortable classes is not established beyond cavil or dispute, by the process of official investigation; but sufficient data exist to place the fundamental correctness of the theory beyond reasonable attack. Anyone who is sufficiently interested in the inductive method to make an investigation for himself can do no better than to compare a list of his married friends and their children with a like number of families who are actually engaged in the struggle for existence east of. The results obtained will be surprising to those who are content to believe that the population of England is increasing on safe lines. The unemployed and unfit classes marry early and often. Prudence in their connubial arrangements is unknown, as we shall see hereafter. The annual increase in the population proceeds mainly from the classes who add no strength to the nation. In the process of filling their quivers, the folk whose normal lot is to be within half-a-crown of starvation are countenanced by many of the clergy of all denominations; and, excepting the Roman Catholic Church, they add to their clerical


precepts the force of a vigorous example. To be fruitful and multiply in London involves a suppressed injunction to starve, or live on other people. In the lowest class of all marriage is all but unknown. Vicious celibacy is the rule, and liberal contributions to the illegitimacy rate are supplied from the nomadic tribes infesting the darker haunts of London.

In England marriage is fixed at the age of puberty, as defined in the Roman Law-viz., fourteen for males and twelve for females. The absence of the consent of parents or guardians does not invalidate a marriage.

(Arts. 144-226) prescribes the ages of eighteen for the man and fifteen for the woman. A son under twentyfive and a daughter under twenty-one cannot marry without the consent of the father and mother, or of the father only if they disagree, or of the survivor if one be dead. Precocious marriage in the is prevalent to an extent inconceivable to the prudent mind of the West, and is followed by disunion, separation, adultery, and recourse to charity or the rates. It is recorded by the that of 176 cases of


premature marriage which came under his notice in , in one case the husband had been fourteen years of age when he abandoned the irresponsible position of bachelor life. This young gentleman was subsequently apprehended for trigamy when thirty-four. In eleven cases the wife was fourteen years old. In two cases the husband, and in twelve the wife, was fifteen. In twelve cases the husband, in forty-six the wife, and in three cases both were sixteen. Twentyseven husbands and forty-eight wives were seventeen when they began housekeeping, and in thirteen cases both of the happy pair boasted of that age. Alcoholic infanticide is the usual consequence of this class of union, though they are complacently included in that high marriage rate which is held out as one of the prouder features of English social life. The law gives no power either to the clergy or to registrars to delay such unnatural alliances, when the consent of parents or guardians is not withheld. Half a hundred banns of marriage are gabbled over on a Sunday morning in some East End churches, and the clergy not unnaturally feel that the quantity


of marriages absolves them from responsibility. Wild weather comes too soon to these silly boys and girls, but the evil inflicted on society by their reckless incontinence is greater still. True, we must face a somewhat increased illegitimacy rate, were these marriages prevented by law, but if we thrust aside the phrase, and look into the essence of the thing, it is beyond dispute that a small increase of illegitimacy is a lesser evil than a large though legalised production of thieves and prostitutes.

In every boy of fourteen or fifteen keeps company with his "bit of frock." At seventeen or eighteen marriage is contemplated, and at nineteen or twenty it is often, if not generally, perpetrated. Marriage! The sanction of the Church of England and of the high and mighty court of Parliament is accorded to these loathsome unions; and these august bodies are therefore accessory to the manufacture of the diseased and incapable children who bubble out of the ground for torment in this world if not in the next.

East End marriages are often "solemnized"


hurriedly on Sunday mornings by tired curates in empty churches. At the the fee is sevenpence. This church is popularly distinguished by a title which cannot be reproduced here. The following statement of the methods in which this tie is contracted was published by the a competent witness, and the facts recorded therein have not been contradicted by the responsible clergy:-

" The church door was securely barred, and ingress was with difficulty effected.

"This was a double precaution: to prevent more grog being brought into the church, and to prevent the escape of semi-intoxicated bridegrooms. Inside the church was a noisy, indecorous crowd. Doubtful jokes were being bandied about, which grew coarser and coarser as time went on. Hats were freely worn, and drink bottles were passed to and fro, and handed across the aisles. Every now and then a prayer book or other missile was playfully thrown by one of the crowd.

"After a long interval, during which the legal business was being transacted, the ceremony began, and my informant gradually


worked his way up to the west end. The method pursued was to call the Christian names of the men together, and all the Christian names of the women, and insert the words 'in each case.'

"Thus the forty couples were united in holy matrimony.

" One man was so recalcitrant, he had to be led three times, drunk as he was, up to the altar; when my informant protested against the indecency of allowing the ceremony in his case to proceed, but was told that the drunken bridegroom was already legally married. The bag was then handed round for the freewill offerings, and amid a shower of the coarsest jokes freely shouted after them, the newly-married went out of the church.

"Outside, the foulest and most indecent jests met them, and pantomimic acting of the worst kind; and thus ended the ceremony which celebrated their entrance into the mystical union of marriage.

"My own experience, and that of several others, bears out this account in the minutest particulars, and I have more than once


followed the bride and bridegroom to the nearest pothouse. One man told me he was married at the age of eighteen in the , and his 'party boozed until teatime,' which he thought was the usual custom 'immediately afterwards.' Several of the bridegrooms, while still in church, declared, with an oath, that they were off for beer, and they called loudly upon their friends to join them.

" No wonder that there is a current popular belief that 'marriage at the brings ill-luck with it.' Thus lightly undertaken, one expects next to hear of these marriages at the House, and the Relieving Officers report that the majority of married women admitted to the workhouse for their first confinement were married at the Red Church.

" What work is built upon the basis of these marriages ? Seemingly none. A curious person who wandered into the upon the first Sunday of the month saw a curious sight. One young lady, two clergy, and an organist, the organ-blower, and two infirm old ladies formed the congregation. About the


end of the Litany old women began to drop in by twos and threes, until there were twenty-two of them in all. One even brought an epileptic husband with her. The last woman came in, and asked the stranger 'how long the old gentleman' (the preacher) 'had been up there.' In turn he asked her how there was such a large congregation, and was told carelessly, ' They come for the coalsthat's all.' 'How much coal do you get for coming?' 'Only 14 still it's worth coming for.' Thus the opportunity of knitting together into a congregation the people who come into the church is entirely lost, and the does hardly anything else than harm.

"The East London marriages are a most depressing subject for contemplation. They neither hallow life, nor are legally punctilious as a general rule. They do not tend in the least degree to deepen the sanctity of the marriage tie, to give the lie to a blasphemous political economy, to inculcate self-restraint and awe. They are performed with yawning, hurry, and neglect, sometimes with every antithesis to sanctity, and can only be remembered as dry


legal facts, which would be more efficiently chronicled under the civil code. We should not readily hear the last of a drinking bout performed with sacramental cups; but this would be quite a light form of irreligion to that which weekly goes on in our churches, where the sacrament of marriage is profaned and degraded until it is drained dry of all holy ghostliness, and presents nothing but the foul dregs of impurity, carelessness, and irreligious animalism."

The opinion of an able and experienced clergyman, who writes under the nom-de. plume of and who has done a great and noble work for many years, is as follows :

" One thing I have given up all hope of, and that is, influencing boys or girls to see the folly of premature engagements and unions. These have grown too much the practice of the world they live in. Everyone in their class marries early, and a large proportion prematurelythat is, while still in their teens. I have talked for hours, days, weeks, months, nay years, to the most sensible, and most under my influence in other respects, and tried to


dissuade them; but all in vain. They listen and laugh, and think I am looking at the world through spectacles of my own. ' Oh, no,' they say, 'we will wait till we get baldheaded.' There is no convincing them; and any change for the better must come from without. A good deal of the evil is due to want of occupation of mind. They have none of the sports of young men in these densely populated regions of London. The consequence is-for human nature will have something to relieve the tedium of existence-the thoughts turn to love, instead of cricket and football. Recreation grounds-that is, playgrounds, not disused burial-grounds-will tend to prevent their flowing prematurely in this channel. And there is another movement tending in the same direction, of which I am about to speak; but for the present necessity I am persuaded a legal limitation is indispensable. We have lately been paternal: let us be paternal a step further, to save the youth of England. These marriages are as bad as anything which has recently been brought under our notice-in fact they are a part of the same unpleasant sub-declarations


of age I would make penal, and the marriages of the persons guilty of them null and void. If it could, by means thus roughly indicated, be made impossible for the marriages of infants to take place, the legislature would put a powerful check upon early seductions, since young people could no longer resort to the cloak of matrimony." Of fifteen marriages taking place at - Church in an on a Monday in , the following instances are worthy of remark.

NumberAge Man Age WomanRemarks 
1 1918  
22221Private in foot regiment.
31918Girl looked 16 only.
42422Heavily pregnant.
52218Man out of work.
82624Heavily pregnant.

The rest were between 27 and 35.

The following is the report of the scene


that took place at the celebration of the rites of holy matrimony:-

" Inside the church there was a noisy mob; obscene jests were freely shouted out, and every minute they became coarser and more objectionable as the brides and bridegrooms became more intoxicated. One old lady, reeling about, was singing a Salvation Army tune set to a filthy jargon about the joys of married life, whilst some of the bridegrooms were shouting one to another to come and have another -- swig of beer; in fact, two couples had to be married half an hour after the rest because the happy bridegrooms had 'gone for a booze' and could not be found.

" It is a striking fact that out of all the fifteen couples only one had any holiday clothes to wear for such an important occasion. All the rest were in old working clothes, and some in rags.

"After waiting till a quarter to twelve, the ceremony began. The Curate read all the names of the men first, and gabbled with them through their part, afterwards doing


the same with the women, interlarded with a few remarks like this: ' Now then, -, you are not saying it after me; you will have to say it by yourself if you ain't careful.' Or to another it would be: 'Say I will, and not yes, you idiot!' While this was proceeding the few who had strolled in to see the weddings were indulging in filthy jokes and suggestive actions quite openly, with no more respect for the house of God than if it was a stable.

" The church itself is in a shocking dirty and dilapidated state. One window near the altar, containing twenty-eight panes of glass, has thirteen broken; the dirty plaster is peeling from the walls, and nearly half the ceiling has fallen, leaving the bare rafters exposed to view.

" After the ceremony all adjourned to the nearest public-house except one young couple, who stood outside the church gazing stupidly about. I spoke to them, and asked if they lived close handy, but the young man said: 'I ain't got er place to go to yet; my old man don't know as I'm married, no more does 'er old woman-do she, Nell? We've


got married on the sly.' After chatting for some few minutes, his girl wife said to him: 'The parson does chuck it of his chest, don't he, Bill ?' And Bill answered with an oath: 'Well, and wot ther- - do you want for sevenpence halfpenny ?'"

To Bank Holidays may be attributed a portion of the origin of this evil. " So far," writes the clergyman already quoted, "so far from canonizing , if there be any opposite process I would ruthlessly apply it to him, for most of the premature marriages are his doing."

The other cause of the evil of reckless and premature marriage is the unloveliness and restrictions of the working man's home. Weary lads, without mental or physical resources, swarm from the alley hive before a stock of honey has been laid in for winter use. As a natural result there is a married pauper class, growing in numbers, who drag along during the summer with hopping, "hobjobbing," and casual labour, depending for subsistence in winter time on the rates and on the charity that maintains and propagates the evils it blindly hopes to extinguish.


Zulus, Basutos, Amatongas, and other varieties of "poor heathen" pursue a different practice. It is attended with success. Every girl is the equivalent of so many cattle, and unless the swain can produce them, in exchange for his bride, he may live and die a bachelor. Kimberley diamonds are delved for by ebony Corydons labouring for the Phillises waiting for them throughout the length and breadth of the uplands south of the . The bottomless rottenness of English cant prefers the fiction of a marriage tie with the facts of filth and infidelity, to enforced abstention from undertaking impossible responsibilities, at all events with the sanction of the State. It is not too late to place legislative obstacles in the way of unions repugnant to a true sense of purity, hostile to national interests, and fraught with evil to the living and to generations unborn, by demanding from male minors evidence of means, before undertaking the burden of family life.

Criminal and pauperised classes with low cerebral development renew their race more rapidly than those of higher nervous natures.


Statesmen idly stand by, watching in such moments as they can spare from the strife of party the victory of battalions destined to misery and crime over the struggling army of the prudent and the self-controlled. Birth into certain quarters of London is birth into an environment from which there is no escape. At three years old baby lips lisp oaths so bestial as to be coarse in the betel-stained mouths of the crew of a Coromandel dhoney. At six, little girls are initiated by their mothers into practices so loathsome the gorge rises at the thought. At ten, girls and boys alike, are unclean spirits limited in their power for evil only by their abilities. Dynasties of criminals and paupers hand down from generation to generation hereditary unfitness for the arts of progress and all that brings greatness to a nation, and engage themselves in warring against all forms of physical and moral order. Where a man is criminal himself, the cause of crime in others, and the begetter of criminal posterity, it seems to be an act of mere self-protection on the part of this generation to segregate him. No less is it an act of justice to the next generation to


take such measures as will, in conformity with enlightened public opinion, prevent him from tainting posterity with the pledges of his affection. In Eastern countries this matter could be discussed with greater ease. English convention forbids the discussion of detail which would otherwise be desirable. A Parliamentary vote to meet the cost of shutting up for life confirmed criminals cannot, however, bring a blush to any cheek. A woman of belonging to the criminal class died at a great age. She had spent forty years of her own life in prison. Investigation was made into what is termed her "life history," and it was found that over a hundred of her descendants had at one time or another abused the protection of the American Eagle. This may be an extreme example, but it is obvious that economy would have resulted to the American Republic from a luxurious but compulsory hospitality being accorded to the lady in question for the term of her natural life, from the time when her proclivity for crime became so marked as justly to deserve the epithet Habitual. Were criminals segregated for life


after repeated conviction, posterity would, at all events, manufacture most of their own crime, instead of receiving from us so handsome a legacy as that which is now being prepared. Such a course would be costly, and would not lend itself to statistics. We could not count the gain, with precision. Diminution of crime and pauperism would result, but in unknown quantities. What is hit is History, what is missed is Mystery.

The following advertisement from the is the result of a type of outrage to be perpetrated by any healthy and impecunious curate with a light heart, with the sanction of the Church, and with the blessing of conventional society:-

" An urgent and earnest appeal is made on behalf of a widow and six young children, who, by the sudden death of the husband-a clergyman-are left penniless. Will some kind hearts come forward either to adopt or contribute towards the education and maintenance of the children, or aid the poor widow in her bitter hour of need? The highest references and full particulars can be given, and contributions," &c.


Teachers of men who incur direct money liabilities they are unable to discharge are unfrocked. Indirect responsibilities to unborn children, to be redeemed in case of death by an unknown public, are accepted with complacency, since the conventions of cant do not reprobate the offender with the illwill of respectable society. Daughters may go to the streets and sons to Dartmoor as the consequence of selfish marriage, but the smug maxims governing what the clergyman termed "the so-called nineteenth century" not only condone, but encourage the offence of bringing into the world creatures for whom there is no reasonable prospect of either healthy or happy existence. With such examples to the common people, what hope is there of driving home the need of thrift and common prudence ? On the clergy rests, to a large degree, responsibility for the reckless fecundity which is part of our national offending. Healthy public opinion may well be brought to bear on the cruelty of precept and example alike inflicted on the poor by so many of our pastors.

The practice of the Roman Catholic Church


in regard to this matter is stated by his Eminence as follows:-

"As to early marriages, the Church has no special laws. It does not discourage them, under conditions of common prudence, knowing the danger of opposing them.

" It is a balance of dangers. On the one side the danger of want and destitution: on the other, the danger of demoralization. We fear the latter more than the former, and I believe shows that we are right and confirms it. But then we have more hold over the married than over the unmarried, and they come to us more readily in their troubles. A home, however poor, is a fixture. The unmarried are untraceable, and cannot be so easily known and watched over. They go to and fro. This will not apply to the general population in the same degree.

"My belief is, that the destruction of home-life among the people comes from the extreme right of property and the excesses of political economy, and, I must add, the devouring drink community is


stated by the to be as follows :

"Nowhere, perhaps, are the evils consequent upon that system (of premature marriages) more acutely felt than among my own co-religionists.

"Some allowance must, of course, be made for the Eastern origin of the Jewish people. Something must also be set down to the fact that early marriages are looked upon with a considerable degree of favour by many of our most trusted teachers, ancient and modern, who regard the practice as a preventive against greater evils. The comparatively high standard of family morals among Jews no doubt justifies this anticipation to a certain extent. Still the question is, whether there is anything incompatible between prudence and public morality, and the more far-sighted among us would fall in with the judicious conclusion of the Talmud, which in an exposition of the sequence of verses in Deuteronomy xx., 5, 6, 7, observes: 'Here the law teaches us a lesson for the guidance of human society, and indicates that a man should first build his house and plant his vineyard and then


take a wife, as if to say no marriage should be undertaken unless the means of support are at hand and a foundation has been laid for the fulfilment of the responsibilities of marriage.'

"You ask me what is the practice of the Jewish community in regard to the marriages of male minors in the event of their being unable to support the responsibilities of a family ?

" There is, in fact, no fixed procedure, nor any regulation on the subject. assist women in their confinements. At circumcision further help is frequently forthcoming from the benefactions of our richer brethren, contributed for that purpose at the circumcision of their sons.

"A public institution of ours, , receives, educates, etc., the children of indigent parents after election by the subscribers. Our Free Schools have long given education of a very high order to the children of the poor, and through the generosity of a few philanthropic members of our body, notably the Rothschild


family, the poorest among our pupils are supplied with food and clothing.

" apprentices boys and girls to various trades. The synagogues at stated periods distribute gifts in money and in kind. Many families are assisted to emigrate. There is, indeed, a general objection to giving pecuniary or other relief to young people capable of work, but the objection usually breaks down in the presence of evident and pinching want.

"With deep regret I confess that the innate benevolence of the Jewish race is at times itself the cause of the improvidence we all deplore.

" In my visits to the poor in the East of London I am often staggered at the blind rashness with which young people have rushed into marriage. The people to whom I refer have mostly come from foreign parts (although instances of early and imprudent marriages are not rare even in England). It is not an uncommon thing to find parents of 19 or 20 arriving here from and with two or three children, and without any means of supporting themselves and their off-spring.


Herein lies, I hold, the chief cause of that grinding poverty with which the Jews as a race are afflicted.

"The popular notion concerning the wealth of Jews is a fallacy which ought by this time to be exploded. The idea owes its origin in part to the presence of a few opulent families among us, but still more, perhaps, to the circumstance that we do not parade our distress before the world, and, while helping to support the public burdens, relieve our own poor independently of parish, and as a rule, also, of Gentile assistance.

"A little practical experience of the wretchedness our brethren live in would dispel the popular fancy regarding the wealth of the Jews, and would carry home the conviction that for by far the greater part of that wretchedness nothing is answerable but the number of early, premature, and imprudent marriages that take place among us.

"Even the beneficent effects of sobriety, industry, and the strongest family affections, are to a great extent neutralized from this cause alone.

" For whatever you can do to throw the


light of reason upon a practice productive of immense present, and incalculable future, misery, you ought to earn the gratitude of all who desire the permanent amelioration of the condition of the poor."

The Nonconformist bodies appear to be free from the charge of encouraging reckless and improvident marriages.

Limitation of families is a subject that has been spoiled by and his colleagues. In the public mind there is an indissoluble alliance between deliberate restriction and aggressive atheism. There is not, it is true, on the surface any necessary affiance between the two. Possibly and are people who have lived a generation too soon. The arguments against them were employed against , when chloroform was first administered in cases of childbirth. An all-wise Creator, it was said, ordained that women in their travail should travail in pain, and it would be impious to impair by anæsthetics the full force of so wise a provision. A similar line of reasoning might have been adopted against cropping the hair. Interference with nature is the condition


of civilization. It is not natural to exist between a paving-stone and a canopy of smoke. But this is the condition of millions of poor souls who, under brighter circumstances, could enjoy the gentians of the or the waters of the as keenly as their critics. As things are marching now, non-interference with nature is hurrying the nation to disorder by the wholesale production of people who rarely wash or change their clothes; who are subject to prolonged and irregular intervals between meals; who breathe tainted air in insanitary hovels, and who are in a more decrepid condition of mind and body than the heathen in foreign parts before we extended to them the advantages of brandy, Bible, and the diseases of advanced civilization. In a Committee sat at the Mansion House to inquire into the causes of permanent distress in London, and the best means of remedying the same.

The Committee was representative, and contained some distinguished names. The following forms part of the Report:-

" There appear to be grounds for believing that the increase of the population (with or


without marriage) is greatest in those classes which have the least means of supporting large families. And this increase is due quite as much to the early age at which many become parents as to the number of children brought into the world without any provision for their maintenance. In the result it would appear that the undue increase of the population is closely connected with extreme destitution. The question of early marriages is a very important one as regards both morality and pauperism, and the matter might be profitably investigated."

After so specific an opinion, it might be presumed that the Committee came to deal with the question of remedies for permanent distress in London. Not a bit of it. The subject was ignored. The logical corollary of such an expression of opinion would have been a recommendation that an inquiry (by or otherwise is desirable) into the effect of early and reckless marriages as well as into the connection between the undue increase of population and destitution.

It is desirable, therefore, in order to sterilize the unfit-

1. That the legal age of marriage should be raised.

2. That reckless marriages should be prevented -

(a) By requiring from male minors previous to the celebration of marriage evidence of ability to maintain a family.

(b) By an Act of Parliament enabling clergy and registrars to refuse to act for reasons stated.

3. Permanent segregation by the State of criminals after repeated conviction.

4. Change of example and precept by the clergy, and the creation of a healthy public opinion in regard to the responsibility of adults for children begotten by them.

5. An inquiry by Royal Commission into the effect of early and reckless marriages, and their connection with destitution.


[1] Blue Book, C. 4402-28. See also the Report of the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Poor.