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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 49

The State's Relation to Sunday's Three Uses

The State's Relation to Sunday's Three Uses.

It should give the Rest, Recreation, Education : those words mark the three parts into which the subject falls the moment that we touch it. And I will say at once, in rough, where I am coming out. I think that the present use of Sunday, determined by New England law and custom, and extending far beyond New England, involves for working-men a waste of opportunity to sad and great that the makers of public opinion can hardly do a better thing for their generation than to take up earnestly the question, Cannot this waste be somehow utilized for culture? At present, New England law and custom compel the Sunday rest, forbid the Sunday recreation, and do nothing for the Sunday education save in a single direction,—that indeed the most important. The change that will be advocated—under, let me confess, a strong sense of its difficulty and danger, yet with strong confidence that it looks in the right direction—maybe summed up thus: So far as the State deals with the matter, it should encourage Sunday rest, without directly enforcing it; should encourage Sunday recreation also, without directly aiding it: but should positively and actively promote Sunday education by Opening whatever libraries, reading-rooms, page 69 art and mechanic exhibitions it may control, in fit localities, and by extending the public school system so far as to include free Sunday classes and lectures on "secular" subjects. Of course, before public opinion will authorize the state to do so much as this, private philanthropy must seize on this waste field of opportunity, and prove that in the vacant lot right here beside our doors there lies a gold mine !

Now, to go over the ground a little more carefully.