Poor little infant wails extinguished

Sir, - It is of the babies I am thinking - the little little children, who will have never a chance unless some of us see the danger, the imminent danger, before them, and step forward instantly to divert it. These babies, born of the war, born of the agony of separation from loved ones, and then - then - ? God help them then, if they are to be neglected or left to irresponsible people. Their poor little infant wail has hardly been voiced before it is extinguished - not always wilfully and of set design - but through the unnatural means to dispose of their infants which the mothers - little more than children themselves - resort to in order to be free to ``earn a livelihood''. They can't take their babies about with them; many of them would ``die of shame'' if it were published among their friends and acquaintances that they were mothers without being wives!

The only thing possible seems to them to be to insert an advertisement asking ``Will some kind person adopt a baby of - - months old; fine child; sole possession given.'' The old answer is always ready, ``You don't want it known, my dear; of course, you don't; it'd spoil all your chances! How much can you afford? Well, make it 20; say, at 10s a week after the first 5.'' So the pretty little garments are made, the small cot provided, the hard-earned money handed over, and sole possession given. When the amount is paid up, what happens? Where may we find the baby? Sir, all your readers must at some time or other have heard of ``The Foundling Hospital'' in England, where a baby is admitted at any hour of the day or night; where no questions are asked, and where the child is received as from God, and nourished and nurtured and trained as a child should be, being eventually placed out on the world, after having been taught a trade or initiated into the mysteries of a profession. These little ones are known as ``God's Orphans'', thrown into His arms from their birth.

Sir, will 100 New Zealand men and women come forward and guarantee to give or collect 50 within one year, to establish a Home for Foundlings, war foundlings and peace foundlings? I myself will most willingly give, conditionally on 100 others doing the same, the sum of 50, or even 100. I will undertake to select or have built the house, to see to its furnishing, and to get it efficiently and properly started before my return home. I will also give, or collect to give, 50 yearly towards the maintenance of the home, if 10 others will do the same. Years ago I myself adopted a foundling boy, and brought him up with my own sons. He died a hero in the North Sea, having gone down with all hands in his boat, the Clan M'Naughton.

The name of the little one whom I adopted, and who, as a gunner, went down with his ship, was Sidney Henley. He was a good, fine man. I would suggest calling the foundling home ``The Henley Home for Little Children''. I suggest that the home should be established in the neighbourhood of that city which offers the most liberal response to his appeal. Sir, help me to save the babies! Help me to help the unmarried mothers, who are sorely tempted to relinquish their babies to the first ``kind person willing to adopt'' the child and pocket the cash. There would be fewer little white coffins, but many more stalwart men and women, proud of New Zealand, and thankful for a life redeemed.

Donors may send in their donations to the account of the Sidney Henley NZ Home for Little Children, care of the Bank of Australasia, Wellington. - I am, etc., E. M. Story.

- ODT, 21.4.1917.

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