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governed by factory laws, receiving union wages and working eight hours or ten hours a day. It meant that the article was not made in a sweatshop or tenement house and that child labor was not employed in its making. In its very latest development the anion label stands also for good workmanship. It signifies that the worker has reached the stage of growth where he takes sufficient pride in his work to put his best efforts into it. However desirable this qualification may be from a consumer's point of view, there are grave difficulties in the way of its fullest development under the present organization of industry. Labor is only a partner. The laborer has not full say in the matter of what he shall put into the goods he makes. It is desirable, from the consumer's point of view, that things shall be chcap. Possibly the only way to secure cheapness may be to put less work or inferior material into an article. Good workmanship requires much more time than poor workmanship. From the manufacturers' point of view, which is influenced always by the consumer's desires, it may be better to turn out a great deal of work not done in the best manner than to make a few beautifully finished articles. Exquisite finish takes more time, costs more and must be sold for more. Fewer people can afford to buy it, no matter how much they may admire it. The demand is reduced. Fewer articles are required. Probably fewer workmen will be needed to make the limited supply. It is doubtful whether it is a wise thing for
the consumer friends of the union label to insist too strongly as yet that it shall stand for good workmanship. The old saw, “ What is worth doing at all is worth doing well," is just as true as it ever was ; but until the public taste has been educated through technical and art training, or in some other way, so that it will have nothing but what is in good taste and well done, and until our ethical standards have been raised to a point where getting more than one pays for will not be considered an evidence of good judgment and good business ability, it will be wiser not to insist too strongly on excellence of workmanship. For the consumer to say to the trade-unionist, “ When you can assure us that the label stands for conscientious workmanship, just relations between workmen and employer, good sanitary conditions, enforced factory laws, etc., we will give you our hearty support,” is like saying to the slave, “We see you are un
justly treated; we know you are weak and oppressed ; when you have broken your bonds and become strong we will help you to stay free, but we will not help you secure your freedom.”
The consumer, of course, represents society as a whole. The producer who is to be helped by the union label represents only a part of society. And apparently it is only a very small fraction of the producers who will be benefited by the union label. The proportion of union men to non-unionists is about one to nine in England, and the proportion outside the union is much greater in the United States. The “scah," of course, is a consumer, and niust be considered in any scheme which is to benefit society as a whole. The use of the union label will probably have much the sanie effect upon those outside the union that the trade-union itself has had upon the workers who have remained outside its organization. Invariably the non-unionist has shared in the improved conditions brought about by the efforts of the trade-unions. Factory laws, anti-truck laws, weekly payment laws, and much other legislation which protécts all workingmen have been the result of trade-union activity. Public opinion has been largely the means of enforcing shorter hours in many occupations, half-holidays in tho dry-goods shops, for instance, but the agitation was started by trade-unionists, and those outside labor organizations have shared in the benefits.
02 the whole, it cannot be said that the union label is an ideal solution of vexing labor problems, or that it is likely to be final or permanent. It does, however, offer a means of utilizing the altruistic sense of a community to right some of the wrongs from which the producer suffers. It offers itself as an infinitely superior substitute for the strike and the boycott. It brings employer and workman together on a footing of common interest. The employer finds it is to his interest to see that the conditions under which his workmen are employed are fair. Closer relations are sure to bring about improved methods of settling differences. The label builds up the fair employer's trade instead of tearing down the unfair man's busivess, as did the boycott. The union label is constructive, not destructive. In this fact is its most vital principle, and a promise of extensive and progressive development.
M. E. J. KELLEY.
ARE AMERICAN PARENTS SELFISH ?
BY ELIZABETH BISLAND.
It is admitted by every unprejudiced person--excepting, of course, the ignorant and benighted foreigner-that the Americans are the people, and that wisdom and virtue will necessarily die with them ; that all their customs and institutions, whether social or political, are the wonder, the envy, and despair of other nations—which makes a question like the above seem almost frivolous.
“Selfish !” reply the astonished and disgusted heads of families, “selfish-indeed !-on the contrary, the American is blamed as the most indulgent of parents. Surely selfishness is the last charge that can justly be made." And if indulgence invariably implied unselfishness the American would certainly have nothing with which to reproach himself in his relations with his children.
There can be no doubt that a fond gentleness of rule is in this country the law of the average household. So far as is compatible with common sense, the children have entire liberty of action, and, so far as the means of the parents permit, the children are provided with every advantage and pleasure. Iadeed, to such lengths at one time did fondness go that it too often degenerated into a laxness that made the American child a lesson and a warning to other nations. Daisy Miller and her little, odious, toothless brother were supposed to typify the results of this fatuous feebleness of rule in our family life, but neither Daisy nor her brother can now be held to be typical pictures, though their prototypes still exist here and there. The Ameri . can parent of to-day rules more firmly and with greater wisdom. Such figures as those of the anhappy girl and the odious boy brought home to us the truth—forgotten in our passion for universal liberty—that a relaxation of wise, strong government by
the parent was cruelty of the most far-reaching and irreparable sort.
No doubt Henry James' mordant satire helped to inaugurate a salutary reform, and it is just possible that a new work of a similar nature is now needed to suggest further serious reflections to American parents ; to rouse them to consider whether their whole duty is performed in seeing their children well fed, well educated, and raised to man's estate. With most parents the sense of responsibility ceases when the boy begins to earn his own living, when the girl dons orange blossoms. Like the birds the American parent works hard to feed the nestlings, carefully teaches them to fly, and then tumbles them out into the world to find for themselves. So far in our history this elemental method has worked well, no doubt. The result of it has been to breed the most precocious, self-reliant, vigorous, irreverent race the earth has yet seen. One may see the whole situation epitomized in the orchard any pleasant June day-an astonished fledgling ruffling his feathers upon some retired bough, ruminating upon the sudden shocks and changes of existence, and afraid almost to turn his head in the large, new, lonesome world surrounding him. As the hours pass his melancholy reflections are pierced by hunger's pangs. Heretofore, a busy parent has always appeared to assuage such poignant sensations, but now that hard-worked person may be seen-genially oblivious of obligations—refreshing himself with cherries, and the fledgling, with a squawk of wounded amazement, discovers for the first time that even parents are not to be depended upon. IIis hunger meantime grows. tune insect flits by and is snapped at involuntarily. It proves to be of refreshing and sustaining quality, and digestion brings courage. A hop and a flutter show the usefulness of wing and limb. More luck with insects demonstrates that the world belongs to the bold, and before the day is done the cocky young nestling of yesterday is shouldering his papa away from the ripest cherries.
All this is very well in a world where flies and cherries are free to all, but America is fast ceasing to be a happy uncrowded orchard in which the young find more than enough room and food for the taking.
In the past, the boy-inured to plain living and a certain amount of labor from childhood-had only to take the girl of
his choice by the hand and go make a home out of virgin soil, wheresoever chance or fancy led, himself and his parents both confident he conld not suffer in a land where only industry was needed to ensure conquest. These boundless possibili ies re. lieved the parent of half the cares incident to the relation, and that sense of freedom from responsibility has remained, while conditions have altered. The bird-like fashion of refusing further liability once the child has made its first flight is still the rule.
To the European parent this seems a most flagrant abandonment of duty. There the anxious care for the offspring reaches out to the third and fourth generation, and every safeguard which law or custom can devise is thrown around the child. From the moment of its birth the parent of Continental Europe begins to save, not only for the education and upbringing, but for the whole future existence, of the child. It is not alone the daughter who is dowered, but the son also has provision made for his married life, when, as his parents keenly realize, the greatest strain will be made upon his resources and capabilities.
In America it is the custom-very nearly the universal custom-for the parents to spend upon the luxuries and pleasures of the family life the whole income. The children are educated according to this standard of expenditure, and are accustomed to all its privileges. No thought is taken of the time when they must set up households for themselves—almost invariably upon a very different scale from the one to which they have been used. To the American parent this seems only a natural downfall. They remark cheerfully that they themselves began in a small way, and it will do the young people no harm to acquire a similar experience-forgetting that in most cases their children have been cducated to a much higher standard of ease than that of their own early life. They do not consider it obligatory to leave anything to their children at death. They have used all they could accumulate during their own lifetime-let their children do the same. The results of the system are crystallized in the American saying: “There are but three generations from shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves.” The man who acquires wealth spends what he makes. His children, brought up in luxury, struggle unsuccess. fully against conditions to which they are unused, and the grandchildren begin in their shirt sleeves to toil for the wealth dissipated by the two preceding generations.