1
1385 CHILD-TRAFFIC IN ITALY. indeed, that there is something in persistent motion of the blood, sustained by volition of a resolute kind, which pre- vents the nervous system from passing into that passive or ’, negative state to which the term "sleep" is applied. We might dwell on these points with advantage to physiological inquiry, and we might dwell upon corresponding evidences, such as the over-action of the heart in connexion with the wakefulness of febrile conditions, and the effects of ex- treme stimulation. The practical lesson we are most called to dwell upon, however, bears on the ultimate influence of extreme exercise on the bodies of these young men who make themselves the victims of self-inflicted injury. The report of a feat such as we have related may sug- gest that, for the moment, the athlete has sustained no harm, and that all our teaching is so much nervous admoni- tion, or, as it is sometimes designated, "grandmotherly care." We wish it were so. Unfortunately we know that these violent strains bode, in the end, the certainty of pre- mature decrepitude. Towards the goal of death the best heart can only perform a certain measure of work, and whether that be done by rapid or slow process deter- mines the length of days in which it is done. Theoreti- cally, therefore, it is the fate of these young com- petitors, who otherwise might be destined for a long and active existence, to succumb or break down long before the sun of their life has reached its full meridian ; and prac- tically this, so far, has been the fate of all who have endeavoured, under the applause of their unthinking com- rades, to do what nature has not constructed them for doing without risk and without ultimately proclaiming to them in a voice even stronger than theirs that she, after all, is the arbitress of their destinies. ___ CHILD-TRAFFIC IN ITALY. IN spite of Government interference and amateur societies, British and Italian, this disgraceful traffic shows little tendency to decline. In Italy attempts have been made to ronse public sympathy in behalf of the poor children condemned to a vagabond life under mercenary showmen in foreign capitals, but, as usual, the response has been of the feeblest. And yet these attempts have been wanting neither in earnestness nor in power of appeal. A few months ago a thrill of horror and shame was sent through the peninsula by the pamphlet of the Marchese R. Paolucci di Calboli entitled I Girovaghi Italiani in Inghilterra ed i Suonatori Ambulanti " (Vagabond Italians and Itinerant Musicians in England), in which the tragic fate of so many boys and girls, mostly from Southern Italy, was touchingly set forth, and an impressive remonstrance was directed to the Legislatures of both kingdoms for the suppression of the nefarious traffic that led up to it. The public, however, to which it was originally addressed, with characteristic supine- ness took no practical measures, and now a second and still more moving appeal is made to its amour propre if not to its sense of duty. This comes from the pen of a distinguished Sicilian statistician, Professor Sitta, and from it we learn that about 20,000 Italians reside in England, of whom the vast majority are not robust, independent bread- winners, but children scarcely emerged from infancy, hired from their parents (or, more truly, sold by them) to pirouette and gambol through the European cities to the sound of tambourine or hurdy-gurdy, and by the compassion they excite to draw from the thoughtless almsgiver the doles from which their hard taskmasters earn a profitable livelihood. Professor Sitta’s remarks on the composition of the Italian Population in England are instructive as well as interesting. The foreign labourer or artisan is not encouraged to pursue his métier on these shores, and those Italians who are an exception to this rule are few indeed. The bond-fide immi- grants of that nationality are vendors of cheap statuary, ice- : cream sellers, cooks, or waiters in third-class restaurants and hotels-a class which goes but a little way to making up the total of 20,000 Italians above mentioned. The over- whelming proportion of these are, as already stated, children not yet in their teens-chosen, indeed, for their extreme or tender youth as much as for their good or interesting looks- and ruthlessly sold by their Neapolitan or Sicilian parents to itinerant musicians who are practically importunate mendi- cants. Professor Sitta’s allusions to the lives led by these little martyrs to parental greed are sufficiently harrowing, but by no means new to the reader familiar with the night- side of London. From these it is more worth our while to pass to the preventive legislation such facts have inspired, and we find, accordingly, that in 1871 the Italian Government put its official veto on the employment of children by strolling performers, musical and other. Still, however, the traffic was continued by contraband means, while the measures taken in England in accord with the Italian Government were equally frustrated by the clever utilisation of "loopholes in the law." The Società di Beneficenza Italiana in London, cooperating with the surveillance maintained by the Scuola Italiana and the auxiliary efforts of the Italian Embassy and the Italian consuls, all were put in motion to suppress or minimise the traffic, but with no radical outcome. Extirpation of the evil must go yet deeper and root up the outgrowth from its originating soil. That soil is Italy itself, where grinding poverty, accompanied by ignorance and neglected education, supplies inducements to child traffic far more powerful than legislative enactment can deal with. Italy, in her southern provinces especially, is still in many ways mediaeval, the revelations of Professors Mosso, Lombroso, and Colajanni being too well authenticated to admit of dispute on that point. England can do much, as Professor Sitta quite sufficiently shows ; but Italy remains the fons et origo of the traffic in its _personnel and its pro- moters, and so her reform, like charity in general, must begin at home. To conserve her people in health and vigour, if for no higher object than the efficiency of her military and naval establishments, she must suppress the horrors of her sulphur mines and the white slavery among her child popula- tion. Till she does that it is idle to talk of dereliction of duty on the part of foreign Powers. CLUB PRACTICE AT SOUTHAMPTON: RULES OF PAYMENT. IT is not to be supposed that we have heard the last of the difficulty of reconciling an adequate medical attendance on members of the working classes with an adequate re- muneration of the members of the medical profession. The subject has been revived in two forms-first, at a meet- ing of the medical profession of Southampton, which was addressed by Sir Dyce Duckworth ; and, secondly, in the General Medical Council, in a motion by Mr. Bryant. At Southampton (as we reported last week) Sir Dyce Duckworth delivered a speech, in which he set forth vigorously that a fourth of the population of Southampton was attended medically and surgically in clubs for ’ls. a year; that these terms did not sufficiently remunerate the medical man, whose education was now more extended and more costly than ever; that though the wages of workmen had risen greatly of late years there had been no corre- sponding advance in the fees for medical attendance on club members; that many persons took advantage of these low terms who were in a position to pay the ordinary ones; and that the numbers to be attended under so-called medical aid associations were such that the attention given to members was often perfunctory, while the general position of the medical officer in such associations was unsatisfactory and degrading. The result of the meet- ing at which Sir Dyce Duckworth was present was the

CHILD-TRAFFIC IN ITALY

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1385CHILD-TRAFFIC IN ITALY.

indeed, that there is something in persistent motion of theblood, sustained by volition of a resolute kind, which pre-vents the nervous system from passing into that passive or ’,

negative state to which the term "sleep" is applied. We

might dwell on these points with advantage to physiologicalinquiry, and we might dwell upon corresponding evidences,such as the over-action of the heart in connexion with the

wakefulness of febrile conditions, and the effects of ex-

treme stimulation. The practical lesson we are most calledto dwell upon, however, bears on the ultimate influence

of extreme exercise on the bodies of these young men

who make themselves the victims of self-inflicted injury.The report of a feat such as we have related may sug-

gest that, for the moment, the athlete has sustained noharm, and that all our teaching is so much nervous admoni-tion, or, as it is sometimes designated, "grandmotherlycare." We wish it were so. Unfortunately we know thatthese violent strains bode, in the end, the certainty of pre-mature decrepitude. Towards the goal of death the bestheart can only perform a certain measure of work, andwhether that be done by rapid or slow process deter-mines the length of days in which it is done. Theoreti-

cally, therefore, it is the fate of these young com-

petitors, who otherwise might be destined for a long andactive existence, to succumb or break down long before thesun of their life has reached its full meridian ; and prac-tically this, so far, has been the fate of all who have

endeavoured, under the applause of their unthinking com-rades, to do what nature has not constructed them for doingwithout risk and without ultimately proclaiming to them ina voice even stronger than theirs that she, after all, is thearbitress of their destinies.

___

CHILD-TRAFFIC IN ITALY.

IN spite of Government interference and amateur societies,British and Italian, this disgraceful traffic shows little

tendency to decline. In Italy attempts have been made toronse public sympathy in behalf of the poor children

condemned to a vagabond life under mercenary showmen inforeign capitals, but, as usual, the response has been of thefeeblest. And yet these attempts have been wanting neitherin earnestness nor in power of appeal. A few months agoa thrill of horror and shame was sent through the peninsulaby the pamphlet of the Marchese R. Paolucci di Calbolientitled I Girovaghi Italiani in Inghilterra ed i SuonatoriAmbulanti " (Vagabond Italians and Itinerant Musicians inEngland), in which the tragic fate of so many boys and girls,mostly from Southern Italy, was touchingly set forth, and animpressive remonstrance was directed to the Legislatures ofboth kingdoms for the suppression of the nefarious trafficthat led up to it. The public, however, to whichit was originally addressed, with characteristic supine-ness took no practical measures, and now a secondand still more moving appeal is made to its amour propreif not to its sense of duty. This comes from the penof a distinguished Sicilian statistician, Professor Sitta, andfrom it we learn that about 20,000 Italians reside in England,of whom the vast majority are not robust, independent bread-winners, but children scarcely emerged from infancy, hiredfrom their parents (or, more truly, sold by them) to pirouetteand gambol through the European cities to the sound oftambourine or hurdy-gurdy, and by the compassion theyexcite to draw from the thoughtless almsgiver the doles fromwhich their hard taskmasters earn a profitable livelihood.Professor Sitta’s remarks on the composition of the ItalianPopulation in England are instructive as well as interesting.The foreign labourer or artisan is not encouraged to pursuehis métier on these shores, and those Italians who are anexception to this rule are few indeed. The bond-fide immi-grants of that nationality are vendors of cheap statuary, ice-

: cream sellers, cooks, or waiters in third-class restaurants

and hotels-a class which goes but a little way to making upthe total of 20,000 Italians above mentioned. The over-

whelming proportion of these are, as already stated, childrennot yet in their teens-chosen, indeed, for their extreme ortender youth as much as for their good or interesting looks-and ruthlessly sold by their Neapolitan or Sicilian parents toitinerant musicians who are practically importunate mendi-cants. Professor Sitta’s allusions to the lives led by theselittle martyrs to parental greed are sufficiently harrowing,but by no means new to the reader familiar with the night-side of London. From these it is more worth our while to

pass to the preventive legislation such facts have inspired,and we find, accordingly, that in 1871 the Italian Governmentput its official veto on the employment of children by strollingperformers, musical and other. Still, however, the trafficwas continued by contraband means, while the measurestaken in England in accord with the Italian Government wereequally frustrated by the clever utilisation of "loopholesin the law." The Società di Beneficenza Italiana in

London, cooperating with the surveillance maintained bythe Scuola Italiana and the auxiliary efforts of theItalian Embassy and the Italian consuls, all were put inmotion to suppress or minimise the traffic, but with no

radical outcome. Extirpation of the evil must go yet deeperand root up the outgrowth from its originating soil. Thatsoil is Italy itself, where grinding poverty, accompanied byignorance and neglected education, supplies inducements tochild traffic far more powerful than legislative enactment candeal with. Italy, in her southern provinces especially, is

still in many ways mediaeval, the revelations of Professors

Mosso, Lombroso, and Colajanni being too well authenticatedto admit of dispute on that point. England can do much,as Professor Sitta quite sufficiently shows ; but Italy remainsthe fons et origo of the traffic in its _personnel and its pro-moters, and so her reform, like charity in general, must beginat home. To conserve her people in health and vigour, iffor no higher object than the efficiency of her military andnaval establishments, she must suppress the horrors of hersulphur mines and the white slavery among her child popula-tion. Till she does that it is idle to talk of dereliction of

duty on the part of foreign Powers.

CLUB PRACTICE AT SOUTHAMPTON: RULES OFPAYMENT.

IT is not to be supposed that we have heard the last ofthe difficulty of reconciling an adequate medical attendanceon members of the working classes with an adequate re-muneration of the members of the medical profession. The

subject has been revived in two forms-first, at a meet-

ing of the medical profession of Southampton, which wasaddressed by Sir Dyce Duckworth ; and, secondly, in theGeneral Medical Council, in a motion by Mr. Bryant.At Southampton (as we reported last week) Sir DyceDuckworth delivered a speech, in which he set forth

vigorously that a fourth of the population of Southamptonwas attended medically and surgically in clubs for ’ls. a

year; that these terms did not sufficiently remunerate themedical man, whose education was now more extended andmore costly than ever; that though the wages of workmenhad risen greatly of late years there had been no corre-

sponding advance in the fees for medical attendance on clubmembers; that many persons took advantage of theselow terms who were in a position to pay the ordinaryones; and that the numbers to be attended under so-calledmedical aid associations were such that the attention

given to members was often perfunctory, while the generalposition of the medical officer in such associations was

unsatisfactory and degrading. The result of the meet-

ing at which Sir Dyce Duckworth was present was the