A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 119 pages of information about A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil.
them so remote.  Looking at the little victims who supply the white slave trade, one is reminded of the burning words of Dr. Howard Kelly uttered in response to the demand that the social evil be legalized and its victims licensed.  He says:  “Where shall we look to recruit the ever-failing ranks of these poor creatures as they die yearly by the tens of thousands?  Which of the little girls of our land shall we designate for this traffic?  Mark their sweet innocence to-day as they run about in our streets and parks prattling and playing, ever busy about nothing; which of them shall we snatch as they approach maturity, to supply this foul mart?”

It is incomprehensible that a nation whose chief boast is its free public education, that a people always ready to respond to any moral or financial appeal made in the name of children, should permit this infamy against childhood to continue!  Only the protection of all children from the menacing temptations which their youth is unable to withstand, will prevent some of them from falling victims to the white slave traffic; only when moral education is made effective and universal will there be hope for the actual abolition of commercialized vice.  These are illustrations perhaps of that curious solidarity of which society is so rapidly becoming conscious.

CHAPTER V

PHILANTHROPIC RESCUE AND PREVENTION

There is no doubt that philanthropy often reflects and dramatizes the modern sensitiveness of the community in relation to a social wrong, because those engaged in the rescue of the victims are able to apprehend, through their daily experiences, many aspects of a recognized evil concerning which the public are ignorant and therefore indifferent.  However ancient a wrong may be, in each generation it must become newly embodied in living people and the social custom into which it has hardened through the years, must be continued in individual lives.  Unless the contemporaries of such unhappy individuals are touched to tenderness or stirred to indignation by the actual embodiments of the old wrong in their own generation, effective action cannot be secured.

The social evil has, on the whole, received less philanthropic effort than any other well-recognized menace to the community, largely because there is something peculiarly distasteful and distressing in personal acquaintance with its victims; a distaste and distress that sometimes leads to actual nervous collapse.  A distinguished Englishman has recently written “that sober-minded people who, from motives of pity, have looked the hideous evil full in the face, have often asserted that nothing in their experience has seemed to threaten them so nearly with a loss of reason.”

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A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.