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This hospital was then suppressed by the Grand Duke of Hesse Darmstadt, and in the ten succeeding years only seven cases of desertion took place.
Similar results attended first the foundation and then the abolition of a like institution in Geneva.
Thus, then, statistical inquiries satisfactorily demonstrate that Foundling Hospitals neither diminish the number of infanticides nor prove a check to desertion. Common sense, too, and a little knowledge of human nature, tell us that parents will hardly ever think of deserting their children in countries where government so rigorously enforces their support and education; whereas in countries where the state so readily relieves parents from the real or imaginary cares which children entail, this very facility is the means of stifling in their bosom the last lingering spark of sympathy and anxiety for their progeny. Accustom people ultimately to look forward to the provisions of such institutions as a matter of course and necessity, and the few formalities attendant on a regular application will soon come to be regarded as a sort of inconvenience which might as well be dispensed with by desertion altogether. A watchful police, and a strict magistracy joined to institutions for the relief of only the really destitute, and for the education of their children, must prove a stronger barrier against desertion than the thousands of hospitals which are now in existence throughout the Roman Catholic countries.
Let us now return to our immediate question.
Few facts are better established or more universally admitted than the dreadful extent of mortality in the Foundling Hospitals, despite the various improvements which modern times have effected. The proportion of deaths among the children in the first year amounted in the hospitals at Madrid to sixty-seven per cent.; at Naples the proportion was about the same; at Vienna it reached ninety-two; at Brussels it amounted to fifty-six ; at Paris to seventy-two; and in all the other places in France collectively to sixty per cent. Of 19,420 children which had been received in the course of twenty years in the hospitals of Dublin, only 2000 remained alive ; ať Moscow only 7000 out 37,600; while at St. Petersburgh, out of 25,624 foundlings which had been received from 1832 to 1835 inclusive, 12,290 died in the first year.
Considering that the average mortality of children in their first year, according to the most recent and authentic accounts of Drs. Casper, Quetelet, and others, does not exceed in large towns twenty-five per cent., and in the country and small provincial towns hardly twenty per cent., the enormous mortality in the hospitals appears to be beyond all proportion and parallel, and shows but too plainly the fallacy of the opinion
that the hospitals tend to preserve the lives of the helpless children. The mortality among children fed by the hand is certainly under all circumstances much greater than among those fed naturally from the breast of the mother, but in the hospitals this proportion is far exceeded. The mere removal of a newly-born infant, perhaps, in many cases a distance of several miles,-its exposure to the weather, probably inadequately clothed—the want of a private nurse—and the spread of infectious or contagious diseases among the inmates, may all assist in increasing the mortality. The extraordinary and frightful mortality in the hospital at Vienna occasioned it to be constituted, in 1813, a mere place for the reception of the foundlings till they could be given out to nurses in different parts of the country. By this modification of the system the proportion of deaths had diminished in a few years from one to two, to about one to four or five; yet with all the improvement a mother's nursing and suckling her own child is, unless the mother be herself diseased, the best security for the physical well-doing of the infant.
It is far more difficult to prove by positive numbers that the morals of children are more apt to become corrupted in the hospital than under the parental roof, however humble and wretched. But general reasons, if not contradicted by stubborn facts, may with equal force establish the necessity of a position, and more especially if some confirmatory evidence, albeit slight, can be brought forward in support of that position, as in the case before us. We have in the first instance only to enter fully into the situation of a foundling to see that of all the relations of human life none is less apt to restrain vice and to fortify the will with moral principles than the career to which he is destined and the associations he is compelled to form. If here and there some foundlings are found to flourish in their moral growth, it is in spite of circumstances. They are entrusted from earliest infancy to the care of hired nurses and guardians, who, performing their duties without sympathy for the future welfare of their charge, naturally seize upon every opportunity of reconciling neglect with the prescribed rules of the institution, and of freeing themselves from those higher moral and physical cares which the tender and feeling heart of a parent is alone capable of conceiving and anxious to act upon. If not retained together in one large institution, those with whom the foundling is lodged and boarded are frequently among the least fitted to bring up even their own children as useful members of society ;-how much less exertion, then, must we not expect from them in behalf of children whom they keep for the sake of pecuniary emolument alone. They are often the very needy themselves, and in this class the parental affections are too commonly deadened; their own offspring would naturally claimi their first and best attention, and the stranger child must submit to be worse treated than even those neglected ones, as well to be the object of their jealousy, and often the victim of their young oppression. Nor are there wanting facts to confirm our position. Parent Duchatelet in his Researches on Prostitution, has ascertained that most of the female children reared in the foundling hospitals were afterwards found on the pavé amongst the most common prostitutes ; nor is it less notorious that the gangs of professional thieves and vagrants in France and other Catholic countries contain a great proportion of foundlings. Of 16,878 criminals confined in the central prison of Belgium, 594 belonged to the class of foundlings. Such a result might almost have been foretold, for he who in infancy has never felt the influences of home, starts forth into life without the best and most sacred tie that ever by its calm influence tended to keep the feelings on the side of virtue, and without the most powerful check to vicious conduct. These never having formed any family habits, are readily enough led to adopt the same method of bringing up their children which was resorted to for themselves. The children of foundlings are placed in the same position as were their parents, and a despised and vicious race threatens to form itself in the very midst of civilization and improvement, as distinct and separate from the rest of the community as is the colored population from the white denizens of America.
Having thus far refuted the objections to the German system, we shall now more fully point out the evil consequences, both moral and financial, as affecting others than the foundlings themselves, resulting from the Catholic system. These evils have grown to such a magnitude as to have opened at length the eyes of the Catholic public itself to the inexpediency of the system. The moral evils have, however, been greatly exaggerated by the opponents of the hospitals, in like manner as the charge of infanticide has been magnified by the assailants of the plan acted upon in the Protestant communities. It is argued, as we have said, by the advocates of the latter system, that nothing can be more calculated to encourage seduction and concubinage than a system by which the state manages to obviate in a great measure the consequences arising from illicit intercourse, the fear of which might otherwise prove a salutary check upon its indulgence. But what is seemingly true is not therefore necessarily true. A close inspection of the statistical accounts show that the number of illegitimate children in the Catholic countries does not by any means exceed that in the Protestant countries; and that while the natural children present annually a proportion to the aggregate number of all the infants born in France as 7.5 to 100, in Portugal as 10 to 100, and in Naples and Sicily as 4.4 to 100, it is in Prussia as 7.4 to 100, in Hanover as 8.4 to 100, in Sweden as 7.4 to 100, in Würtemburg and Saxony as 13 to 100, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse as 17.5 to 100, and in Bavaria as much as 20 to 100. Even in France itself, the departments where most of hospitals (tours) are situated are by no means the most abounding in illegitimate births. We do not mean to deny altogether the injurious effects of the hospitals on the morals of a people as regards the intercourse between the sexes; all we wish to intimate is, that there may be far more efficient causes in operation affecting those sexual relations in the nation than the mere existence of foundling hospitals, which at best occupy but a subordinate rank among the causes. The prospect of the cares of a rising family may often prove a bar to marriage, yet passion gets the victory over prudence, and an illegitimate birth is the result. These cases may not seldom put on a different aspect in Catholic countries : the passion is equally gratified, but under the sanction of marriage, and the offspring, instead of being bastardized, is destined to become an inmate of the foundling hospital.
The charge which is levelled against the moral evil arising from the hospitals with regard to family connexions is certainly far better founded. It was always supposed, and the late statistical investigations have but confirmed the fact, that among the foundlings a considerable number of legitimate children was included. According to the calculations made by the Administration of the Parisian hospitals, the average number of legitimate children delivered into those establishments from 1804 to 1833, presented a proportion to all the foundlings collectively as 8 to 100; in 1832, the proportion had even increased to 14 per cent. In Poitiers the average proportion from 1806 to 1836 was 11 to 100; in Parthenay from 1830 to 1835 as 5 to 100; and in two other places as much as 9 and 12 per cent. The parents of most of these legitimate children, as nearly as could be ascertained, were, by all accounts, far from belonging to the destitute class, and yet they never thought of reclaiming them afterwards. If only those who were in distress had deposited their legitimate children, and if all these were reclaimed when the pressure of circumstances rendered their public support no longer necessary, or if, indeed, any considerable proportion was reclaimed, it would almost entirely obviate the objection; but in the whole of France the number of reclaimed foundlings amounted in the years 1824—1833 to only the tenth part of the whole. At Paris, however, the proportion is calculated at only the one hundredth part; and in Belgium it is about a twentyeighth of the entire number. Now bearing in mind that amongst those reclaimed were also included illegitimate foundlings, the number of legitimate children restored will be seen to amount to almost nothing.
The circumstance that of all the foundlings in France only the hundredth part is of legitimate origin, can by no means justify the existence of the hospitals, as the toleration of a palpable state-disorder cannot be excused by the consideration that it only affects a small portion of the community.
The annual levy for military service in Germany is only as 1 to 1500 of the whole population; nevertheless were it not for the especial care taken by the authorities amply to provide for the physical and moral wants of the military, the people would be far from indifferent to the loss of even this small proportion of its members. The fundamental principle on which the Catholic system is based, precludes in the very outset all notion of inquiry into the circumstances which might induce parents to rid themselves of their children, and the evils arising from that system to the innocent inmates of the hospitals-evils to which they would hardly otherwise have been exposed—are sufficient to brand it as fatal and immoral, and the effect of the system upon the parents lends a confirmatory echo to the testimony.
Nor are the evils in a financial point of view of a less grievous character, the number of foundlings having already increased to such an extent that the burden of expenditure must sooner or later, if a proportional increase continue, accumulate so as to render the national resources inadequate to the demand. Indeed, the clamors and complaints of the bulk of the Catholic nations have of late become so loud as to induce governments to propose and attempt some reforms. Such is the actual state of affairs in all the Catholic kingdoms, and more especially in France, where the necessity of a radical reform of the systenı is especially felt; as is evident from the petitions and resolutions of several of the departmental authorities, and from the prizeessays originated by many of the provincial colleges; those of Bourg, Macon, and Nismes, for example, and by the Society of Benevolent Institutions at Paris.
We shall enter a little more into detail respecting some of the projected reforms, as they furnish us with many important facts by which we may arrive at a due appreciation of the merits and demerits of the system. We gather from the various statements now before us, that the foundlings throughout France, which in 1784 did not exceed 40,000 in number, had increased in 1798 to 51,000; in 1818 to 98,100; and in 1833 to 119,930. The same, if not a still greater ratio of increase is presented by the accounts of some single hospitals. In the hospitals of Paris there were received in 1670 only 312 foundlings; while in 1680 the number had increased to 890; in 1730 to 2,401; in 1790