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CHILDRENITE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 141 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHILDRENITE, a rare mineral species; a hydrous basic aluminium iron phosphate, orthorhombic in crystallization. The ferrous oxide is in part replaced by manganous oxide and lime, and in the closely allied and isomorphous species eosphorite manganese predominates over iron. The general formula for the two species is Al(Fe, Mn)(OH)2PO4+H20. Childrenite is found only as small brilliant crystals of a yellowish-brown colour, somewhat resembling chalybite in general appearance. They are usually pyramidal in habit, often having the form of double six-sided pyramids with the triangular faces deeply striated parallel to their shorter edges. Hardness 4.5-5; specific gravity 3.18-3.24. The mineral, named after the zoologist and mineralogist J. G. Children (1777-1852), secretary of the Royal Society, was detected in 1823 on specimens obtained some years previously during the cutting of a canal near Tavistock in Devonshire. It has also been found in a few copper mines in Cornwall and Devonshire. Eosphorite occurs as crystals of prismatic habit with angles very nearly the same as those of childrenite. Unlike childrenite, it has a distinct cleavage in one direction, and often occurs in compact masses as well as in crystals. The colour is sometimes yellowish-white, but usually rose-pink, and on this account the mineral was named from i7wvi/s6pos, dawn-bearer. Hardness 5; specific gravity 3'11-3.I45. It was discovered in 1878 in a pegmatite-vein at Branchville, Connecticut, where it is associated with other rare manganese phosphates. (L. J. S.) CHILDREN'S COURTS, or JUVENILE COURTS, a special system of tribunals for dealing with juvenile offenders, first suggested in the United States. The germ of such institutions was planted in Massachusetts in 1869, when a plan was introduced at Boston of hearing charges against children separately, and apart from the ordinary business of the lesser tribunals. No great progress was made in the development of the idea in Massachusetts, as the legal authorities were not fully convinced of the utility or need for a separate court so long as the children were kept strictly apart from adults, and this could be assured by a separate session. But the system of "probation," by which children were handed over to the kindly care and guardian-ship of an appointed officer, and thus escaped legal repression, was created about the same time in Boston and produced excellent results. The probation officer is present at the judge's side when he decides a case, and is given charge of the offender, whom he takes by the hand, either at his parent's residence or at school, and continually supervises, having power if necessary to bring him again before the judge. The example of Massachusetts in due course influenced other countries, and especially the British colony of South Australia, where a State Children's Department was created at Adelaide in 1895, and three years later a juvenile court was opened there for the trial of persons under eighteen and was conducted with great success, though the system of probation officers was not introduced. A juvenile court was also established at Toronto (Canada) on the South Australian model. The movement when once fully appreciated went ahead very rapidly. In the United States Illinois was the first state to call a distinct children's court into existence, and Judge Richard Tuthill was the pioneer at Chicago, where the court was established in 1899. Many states followed suit, including New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Kansas, Colorado, Indiana and others, till the number rose to nineteen in 1906. In New York, where juvenile probation is supervised by the Society for the Protection of Children, there is a separate children's court with rooms attached, where the children for detention wait till they are brought in for trial. Brooklyn has also a children's court. In Pennsylvania, where the juvenilecourt was at first opposed as unconstitutional, the difficulty was met by first bringing the child before the magistrate in the police court, a course which (though followed by his transferring the case to the special court) perpetuated the very evils the children's court was intended to avoid; the work of probation was, however, most effectively carried out, chiefly by female officers. The Chicago Juvenile Court sits twice weekly under an especially appointed judge, and policemen act as probation officers to some extent. The court of Indianapolis, however, gained the reputation of being the most complete and perfect in the United States. It works with a large and highly efficient band of volunteer probation officers under a chief. The juvenile court of Denver, Colorado, attained remarkable results under Judge B. Lindsey, whose magnetic personality, wonderful comprehension of boy nature, and extraordinary influence over them achieved great results. The court meets once a fortnight, when fresh cases are tried and boys already on probation report themselves, often to the number of two hundred at a time. The latter appeal' before the judge in batches, each hands in his school report in a sealed letter, and according to its purport receives praise or blame, or he may be committed to the Detention House. An efficient court was also constituted at Baltimore, Maryland, with a judge especially chosen to preside, probation being for fixed periods, varying from three months to three years, and children being brought back to the court for parole or discharge, or, if necessary, committal to the house of one of the philanthropic societies. In Washington, D.C., the system of having no distinct court or judge, but holding a separate session, was followed, and it was found that numbers of children came to the court for help and guidance, looking upon the judge for the time being as their friend and counsellor. Probation in this instance offered peculiar difficulties on account of the colour question, two-thirds of the children having negro blood and a white boy being always preferred for a vacant situation. Throughout, the action of juvenile courts in the United States has been to bring each individual into " human touch " with kindly helpful workers striving to lead the young idea aright and train it to follow the straight path. It was the result always of the effort of private persons and not due to government initiative, indeed the advocates and champions of the system only established it by overcoming strong opposition from the authorities. Progress in the same direction has been made in England. The home office had recommended London police magistrates to keep children's cases separate from those of adults; the same practice or something analogous obtained in many county boroughs, such as Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Bolton, Bradford, Hull, Manchester, Walsall, Halifax and others, and the Children Act 1908 definitely established children's courts. This act enacted that courts of summary jurisdiction when hearing charges, &c., against children or young persons should, unless the child or young person is charged jointly with an adult, sit in a different building or room from that in which the ordinary sittings of the court are held, or on different days or at different times. Further-more, provision must be made for preventing persons apparently under the age of sixteen years whilst being conveyed to or from court, or whilst waiting before or after their attendance in court, from associating with adults, unless such adults are charged jointly with them. The act prohibits any persons other than members and officers of the court, the parties to the case, their solicitors, counsel and other persons directly concerned in the case, from being present in a juvenile court, except by leave of the court. Bona-fide press representatives are also excepted. The main object of the whole system is to keep the child, the embryotic offender who has probably erred from ignorance or the pressure of circumstances or misfortune, altogether free from the taint or contagion that attaches to criminal proceedings. The moral atmosphere of a legal tribunal is injurious to the youthful mind, and children who appear before a bench, whether as accused or as witness, gain a contemptuous familiarity with legal processes. The most beneficial action of the children's court comes from its association with the system of personal guardianship and close supervision exercised by the probation officers, official and voluntary. Where the intervention of the newly constituted tribunal can not only save the child from evil association when first arrested, but can rescue him without condemnation and committal to prison, its functions may be relied upon to diminish crime by cutting it off at the source. Much depends upon the quality and temperament of the presiding authority. Where a judge with special aptitude can be appointed, firm, sympathetic, tactful and able to gain the confidence of those brought before him, he may do great good, by dealing with each individual and not merely with his offence, realizing that the court does not exist to condemn but to strengthen and give a fresh chance. Where the children's court is only a branch of the existing jurisdiction worked by the regular magistrate or judge fulfilling his ordinary functions and not specially chosen, the beneficial results are not so noticeable. (A. G.) CHILDREN'S GAMES. The study of traditional games has in recent years become an important branch of folklore research in England, and has contributed not a little towards elucidating many unrecorded facts in early history. These games may be broadly divided into two kinds—dramatic games, and games of skill and chance. These differ materially in their object. Games of skill and chance are played for the purpose of winning property from a less fortunate player. The dramatic games consist of non-singing and singing games; they are divided betwee:l boys' games and girls' games. Boys' games are mostly of a contest character, girls' of a more domestic type. The boys' dramatic games have preserved some interesting beliefs and customs, but the tendency in these games, such as "prisoner's base," has been to drop the words and tune and to preserve only that part (action) which tends best for exercise and use in school playgrounds. The girls' singing-games have not developed on these lines, and have therefore not lost so much of their early characteristics. The singing games consist of words, tune and action. The words, in verse, express ideas contained in customs not now in vogue, and they may be traced back to events taking place between men and women and between people of different villages. The tunes are simple, and the same tune is frequently used for different games. The actions are illustrative of the ideas to be expressed. The players represent various objects—animals, villages and people. The singing game is therefore not a game in the usual sense of the word. There is no element of " gambling " or playing " to win " in it—no one is richer or poorer for it; it also requires a number of children to play together. It is really a " play," and has survived because it has handed down some instances of custom and belief which were deeply rooted and which made a strong appeal to the imagination of our ancestors. The singing games represent in dramatic form the survival of those ceremonial dances common to people in early stages of development. These dances celebrated events which served to bind the people together and to give them a common interest in matters affecting their welfare. They were dramatic in character, singing and action forming a parr of them, and their performers were connected by ties of place or kindred. They are probably survivals of what we might call folk drama. In these times it was held imperative to perform religious ceremonies periodically; at sowing and harvesting to ensure good crops; in the care of cattle and on occasions of marriage, birth and death. These were matters affecting the welfare of the whole community. Events were celebrated with dance, song and feasting, and no event was too trivial to be unconnected with some belief which rendered ceremony necessary. At first these ceremonial dances had deep religious feeling for their basis, but in process of time they became purely secular and were performed at certain seasons only, because it was the custom to do so. They then became recognized as beautiful or pleasing things in the life of the people, and so continued, altering somewhat in ideas but retaining their old dramatic forms. They were danced by old and young at festivals and holidays, tnese being held about the same time of year as that at which the previous religious ceremonies had been held. Singing games are danced principally in one of two methods, " line " and " circle." These represent two of the early forms of dramatic action. The " line " form (two lines of players standing opposite each other having a space of ground between them, advancing and retiring in turn) represents two different and opposing parties engaged in a struggle or contest. This method is used in all cases where contest is involved. The " circle " form, on the other hand, where all players join hands, represents those occasions when all the people of one place were engaged in celebrating events in which all were interested. Thus games celebrating sowing and harvest, and those associated with love and marriage, are played in this form. Both these methods allow of development. The circle varies from examples where all perform the same actions and say the same words to that where two or more players have principal parts, the others only singing or acting in dumb show, to examples where the singing has disappeared. The form or method of play and the actions constitute the oldest remaining parts of the game (the words being subject to alterations and loss through ignorance of their meaning), and it is to this form or method, the actions and the accompaniment of song, that they owe their survival, appealing as they do to the strong dramatic instinct of children and of uncultured folk. It will be convenient to give a few instances of the best-known singing games. In " line " form, a fighting game is " We are the Rovers." The words tell us of two opposing parties fighting for their land; both sides- alternately deride one another and end by fighting until one side is victorious. Two other " line " games, " Nuts in May " and " Here come three dukes a-riding," are also games of contest, but not for territory. These show an early custom of obtaining wives. They represent marriage by capture, and are played in " line " form because of the element of contest contained in the custom. Another form, the " arch," is also used to indicate contest. Circle games, on the contrary, show such customs as harvest and marriage, with love and courting, and a ceremony and sanction by assembled friends. " Oats and beans and barley " and " Sally Water " are typical of this form. The large majority of circle games deal with love or marriage and domestic life. The customs surviving in these games deal with tribal life and take us back to " foundation sacrifice," " well worship," " sacredness of fire," besides marriage and funeral customs. Details may be found in the periodical publications of the Folk-lore Society, and particularly in the following works:—A. B. Gomme's Traditional Games of Great Britain (2 vols., Nutt, 1894–'898); Gomme's Children's Singing Games (Nutt, 19ol); Eckenstein's Comparative Studies in Nursery Rhymes (Duckworth, 1906); Maclagan, Games of Argyllshire, Folk-lore Society (190o) ; Newell's Games of American Children (Harper Bros., New York, 1884). In Mrs Gomme's Traditional Games, several versions of each game, together with a short account of the suggested origin and of the custom or belief indicated, are given for each game. In vol. ii. (pp. 458-531) a memoir of the history of games is given, and the customs and beliefs which originated them, reviewing the whole subject from the anthropological point of view, and showing the place which games occupy among the evidences of early man. In Miss Eckenstein's comparative study of nursery rhymes suggested origins are given for many of these, and an attempt made to localize certain of the customs and events. In several of the publications of the Folk-lore Society local collections of games are given, all of which may be studied with advantage. Stubbes and other early writers give many instances of boys' games in their days, many of which still exist. Tylor and other writers on anthropology, in dealing with savage custom, confirm the views here expressed. For nursery rhymes see Halliwell, Nursery Rhymes (1845), and Chambers 's Popular Rhymes (first printed 1841, reprinted in 187o). The recently collected Morris Dances by Mr Cecil Sharp should also be consulted. One of the morris dances, bean-setting, evidently dealing with planting or harvest, is danced in circle form, while others indicating fighting or rivalry are danced in line form, each line dancing in circle before crossing over to the opposite side, and thus conforming to the laws already shown to exist in the more ordinary game. (A. B. G.*)
End of Article: CHILDRENITE
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GEORGE WILLIAM CHILDS (1829–1894)

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