Charles Richmond Henderson.

Modern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods online

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to 437.32 million gulden. The premiums on their insurance amount-
ed to flor. 6,654,874, or 1.52 per cent, of their wages. The insurance
against sickness during 1896 furnished, in money, medical aid, medi-
cines, hospital care and funeral expenses, 15,252,194 gulden, of which
9,015,255 gulden were paid in money.

Pensions for old age and disability have been largely developed
in Austria. Soldiers' pensions were known as early as 1750, under
Maria Theresa. Pension rolls for government officials go back as


far as 1771. The next step was to allow pensions for the superan-
nuated clergy of the state church. More recently, especially since
the year 1850, great industrial concerns have been establishing pen-
sion institutions for their employes of the higher class, chiefly office
employes. Since 1869 there has been a regular system of pensions
for public school teachers. A variety of voluntary associations pro-
vide pensions for their members, and among these are included some
classes of laborers, in the narrow sense of that word.

There are in Austria laws for the protection of laborers against
danger to life and health, which forbid excessive hours for women
and children, prescribe pauses in work, and Sunday rest, forbid em-
ployment in factories before the age of fourteen, but allow appren-
tices to be received at the end of the twelfth year, at other than fac-
tory work, limit the working hours for such apprentices to eight
hours per day, and prohibit night work for them. The last two
provisions apply also to factory laborers between the ages -of four-
teen and sixteen. There are protective laws in reference to the
forms of contract between employers and laborers, stipulating the
times of payment, that payment must be made in cash except to ap-
prentices, limiting the power to impose fines, prescribing certain
rights and duties of overseers of the young, regulating the "notice"
which must be given, and specifying cases in which the relation of
employer and employe can be severed without notice.

It would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that that in by far the
larger part of Austria employment bureaus are absent. The old
spirit prevails which looks only upon those who are unable or unwill-
ing to work as the proper objects of public relief. But agitation has
been made and investigation instituted, and resolutions passed look-
ing to the establishment of a general system of public employment
bureaus open to all workmen at the least possible cost. Provisions
have existed for engaging the unemployed in public works in the
cities of Vienna, Salzburg, Reichenberg, Trautenau, Prachatitz, and
Vienna, Prague and Reichenberg have maintained municipal em-
ployment bureaus. The Styrian State League for Charity Organi-
zation disseminates information as to those who seek and those who
offer employment. In one year it published notice of 1,626 em-
ployers who were seeking help, and 3,168 who were seeking em-
ployment, and was the means of filling 1,234 positions. In the year
1 810 private employment bureaus for domestics were made illegal in



certain cities, and the function was assigned to the poHce department.
And although such private employment bureaus have again been
allowed since 1848, they are not free from familiar abuses. One
of the most frequent abuses is the publication of bogus openings,
which decoy the laborers and encourage them to enroll in the agency
and pay their fee. In 1895 there were in Austria 916 employment
bureaus or intelligence offices; 814 of these found positions for
180,692 labor seekers ; 630 of these agencies enrolled 257,944 em-
ployment seekers and 330,515 employers; 429 agencies dealt only
with domestic and agricultural servants, and others with nurses,
with skilled and unskilled laborers, coachmen, waiters and other serv-
ants for hotels, teachers, actors, clerks and other office employes.
The fact that the number of ofifers of employment enrolled largely
exceeds the number of employment seekers is due to the fact that
those who offer employment to domestic servants are generally en-
rolled wi-thout payment of a fee, and therefore frequently enroll in
several bureaus, while applicants must pay a fee, and usually enroll
in but one. In some provinces the amount of fees that can be
charged is limited by law. The function of an employment bureau
is exercised by trade organizations and a variety of benevolent so-
cieties and trade schools.

Savings banks deserve to be mentioned among the agencies pre-
ventive of poverty. In 1848 there were in all Austria but seven-
teen, while Prussia had 200, and England over 600 savings banks.
In 1895 Austria had 488, 158 of which were in Bohemia; and the
next largest number in a single province was 74 in Lower Austria.
There was then in Austria one savings bank to each 614.78 square
kilometers of area, and one to each 51,172 of the population. Even
then several provinces were exceedingly ill supplied with such insti-
tutions. Bukowina was worst of all in this respect, having one sav-
ings bank to 344,059 people. There are still numerous political dis-
tricts that have not a single savings bank; 13.5 per cent, of the
savings banks which were in existence in Austria in 1899 had been
founded by societies more or less benevolent in character, 81 per cent,
by municipalities, and 5.5 per cent, by administrative districts. In
1882 there were 75 savings bank accounts for every 1,000 of the
inhabitants of Austria. In 1889 there were 96, and in 1895 there
were 115. It would probably be wise to set a legal limit upon the
profits which may be realized by savings banks that are founded by


municipalities and districts. There is no reason why the savings
of the poor should be made a source of government revenue.

A society was founded in Vienna in 1894 with the purpose of
erecting groups of buildings, simply but substantially built, and di-
vided into small, convenient and sanitary tenements, to be rented at
the rates prevailing among the laborers of the neighborhoods in
which the buildings stood. It is estimated that the investment made
will pay 31-3 per cent, and replace the capital in eighty years. The
buildings erected are intended to accommodate 5,000 persons. It is
not enough to secure the erection of such buildings ; it is an equally
important and difficult problem to administer them so as to secure
the good results intended. Agents of the society must keep in touch
with the tenants and carry out the suggestions that have been made
in the writings of Octavia Hill. A house committee should be elected
by the occupants of each building, and once or twice, and oftener if
need be, there should be a meeting between this committee and the
general society to discuss the complaints and desires of the tenants
and the possibilities of improvement. Periodically, perhaps twice
each year, all of these committees should meet together and discuss
arrangements for promoting the common good of the tenants. Out
of these meetings there may develop neighborhood guilds, with social,
educational and ethical, as well as economic aims. In order that such
a movement may be a genuine contribution to the solution of the
tenement-house problem, and for the interest of the tenants them-
selves, such buildings must pay interest on the capital invested, and
not be a charity in any objectionable sense. At the same time the
rent which is charged must not much exceed that which is charged
for other houses in the neighborhood. As a rule it is unwise to
admit tenants who do not regularly earn five times the rent which
they agree to pay; and the owners must insist, for the success of
their experiment and for the interest of the tenants and themselves,
that the payment of rent shall be as regular as the succession of day
and night. There must be a prescribed maximum number of oc-
cupants for each tenement, which cannot be exceeded. A failure
to keep the house in order according to the rules prescribed by the
owners, must be followed by warning, and, if the failure continues,
by notice to move. There should be an understanding that tenants
who have kept their apartments in good order for three successive
years acquire thereby the right to have them thoroughly renovated.


The functions of janitors are important, and these officers must be
chosen with care.

It is proposed that in such a system of buildings there should be
one central building, to contain: (i) the creche, for infants; (2)
a nursery for children up to six years of age; (3) a retreat for chil-
dren of school age out of school hours, which shall be provided with
games, magazines, music, a gymnasium, and an attendant who sees
to it that children who wish to do school work out of school hours,
and others who wish to do handiwork, are undisturbed, and who
assists them at their tasks. If the system of buildings accommodates
5,000 tenants, this number will include about 1,000 children of school
age, and such a retreat could be maintained for them at a cost of
about flor. 4,000 a year. The central building should also include :
(4) A central kitchen, making it unnecessary for each family to do
its own cooking; (5) a cooperative store; (6) a bath house; (7)
a steam laundry, washing in private kitchens being a thing to be
avoided ; (8) a reading-room and waiting-room. While no one of
the women in such a city neighborhood may be able to employ a
cook of her own, or maintain a home laundry, it is entirely possible
for a large number to do so, and the economies made possible by
serving many persons in a single set of processes may make these
conveniences which have been the luxury of the rich, even an econo-
my to the poor.

There are in existence a number of societies that maintain
cooperative kitchens similar to those suggested in connection with
model tenements. They prepare food in a hygienic manner, and
either serve it in a society dining room or send it to individual dining
rooms, at the lowest cost possible. Incidentally they make it possible
for both public and private charity, by the use of meal tickets,
to be honored at one of these common dining rooms, to avoid indis-
criminate gifts of money, and give good food instead, to those who
apply for temporary relief.

In Austria there are a considerable number of cooperative stores.
In 1896, 495 such societies were in existence ; of these, 30 had been
active for thirty years, 95 for twenty years, 45 for ten years, and
345 for shorter periods. These societies had a membership of
133,783, of whom 118,199 belonged to the German-speaking peoples
of Austria, and 15,584 to other nationalities. In 1895 the purchases
made through these societies amounted to 17,908,534 gulden — an



increase over the purchases of the preceding year of 12.47 P^^ cent.,
the purchases of each member amounting on an average to 163

Among the most important private preventive agencies there are
the "Societies against Impoverishment and Beggary," copied from
the Berlin "Verein gegen Verarmung und Bettelei." These societies
flourish especially in Vienna and vicinity and in northern Bohemia.
They do not propose to make giving their main activity, but afford
aid in the form of loans of money, of tools, stocks of goods, aids to
travel in search of employment, and the like. Their aim is not to
assist those who have already become impoverished, but to enable
those who are in danger of that fate to remain self-supporting. The
methods of this society are eminently reasonable. Men become
broken-spirited paupers who by a little judicious aid at the right
moment would have been able to retain their economic footing and
their self-respect. A society of this sort has existed in Vienna for
twenty-five years. It requires each person who receives aid, to fill
out a blank statement, and it has gathered results numerous enough
to have statistical value and of particular importance because they
deal with a somewhat different class of persons from those reached
by ordinary charitable agencies. This society in Vienna in a single
year made 1,193 loans without interest, which amounted to 68,553
gulden, and made gifts of 47,685 gulden, distributed among 3,242


A-C. The legal regulation of poor-relief is of comparatively recent
origin. According to the law of 1724 the parish was charged with
the care of the poor. Endowments, supplemented by a tax, have
provided funds. Most parishes lack both the means and the agencies
for adequate poor-relief, the need of which is less felt in the rural
life where neighbors and employers care for the needy ones. With
the growth of cities there is a corresponding development and spe-
cialization of poor-relief. Budapest in 1898 spent 3.6 million crowns
on its poor fund. The most notable progress has been made in the
care of the sick and of children, under the law of 1898 and the min-
isterial ordinances of 1899.

An ordinance of the ministry requires each parish to form an

^ We add here some more specific facts relating to Hungary.


organization for poor-relief which must have the sanction of the
parish directors and in great cities of the Minister of the Interior.

A law of 1875 defined the obligation of parents to care for chil-
dren, and children for parents, spouse for spouse, employer for em-
ploye, so far as there is ability ; and when these sources fail the sick
must be relieved by the parish. A law of 1885 provided that the
larger political units, county and state, should share the burden with
parishes ; and arrangements were made for joining parishes together
for the relief of the poor.

But up to the present time most of the parishes have lacked both
means and suitable organization for relief, and traditional sentiment
has not hindered the authorities from giving indigent persons license
to beg. Municipal administration is in the hands of notaries who
collect state, county and parish taxes and attend to other duties, as
recruiting the army and reporting men liable for military service.
At a recent date only 1,832 large parishes had a notary, while the
remaining 10,723 parishes had among them only 2,336 notaries. If
persons legally liable for support are able to reimburse the parish
they are required to do so. The relief is generally in money, but
sometimes in provisions.

There are no "workhouses" and indoor relief is very rare. Va-
grants in centers of population sometimes menace public safety.

H. Medical Relief in Hungary. — The number of physicians
to 100,000 inhabitants is only 26.5 (in 1895), while Austria (in the
year 1892) had 27.6, the German Empire (1881) 33.8, and France
(1893) 39.1. In at least 10,000 communes there was no resident
physician. In 1876 a law was enacted which ordered that every
city and every commune of 6,000 inhabitants should have a physi-
cian and that smaller communes should be united for the support of
a medical man. The sanitary regulations were systematized and
placed under administrative direction. Croatia and Slavonia enacted
a similar law in 1894. In Hungary there has been marked progress,
and while in 1873 there were only 12.5 physicians to 100,000 souls,
in 1897 there were 27.6.^

The provisions for hospitals have been greatly improved. In
1877 there were of all forms only 237; in 1897 the number was 359,
including 4 hospitals for the insane. Separate hospitals are con-
nected with prisons and houses of correction. The number of pa-

^ A. V. Matlckovitz, Das Konigreich Ungarn, I, x, and 149.


tients treated in hospitals rose from 87,025 (with 2,083,819 days'
care) in 1877 ^o 189,675 (with 8,725,720 days' care) in 1897, The
mortahty in 1877 was 8.3 in 100, and in 1897 only 6.39 in 100. In
1897 there were in 2,398 communes epidemic hospitals with 8,412
beds. The census of 1895 reported 8,032 insane and 14,650 feeble-
minded. The expenditures on hospitals for the insane in 1897 were
500,000 gulden.

The leaders of Hungarian thought^ are awake to the importance
of maintaining the numbers and the efficiency of the people. The
population has by no means reached the limit which a fertile soil can
maintain. To the square kilometer there are 54 inhabitants, while
France has 71, Austria 79 and Germany 91. The increase of popula-
tion is indeed relatively rapid since the encouraging ecomomic pros-
perity which followed the establishment of constitutional freedom and
security. There are 9.4 marriages to 1,000 inhabitants, while France
has 7.6, Germany 7.9, Austria 8.01. That is a vigorous people who
show the high birth rate of infants born alive 42.5 to 1,000 souls,
whereas France has 22.9, Germany 36.7, and Austria 37.9. Natur-
ally the rate of infant mortality is high, — 31.3 in 1,000 ; while the rate
in France is only 22.7, in Germany 24.6 and in Austria 27.1. But in
spite of this excessive death rate the population grows, but at great
cost ; and the authorities are moving with intelligence and energy
to discover and diminish the causes of sickness and mortality.

There are in Hungary 105 orphan asylums with about 5,000
inmates. Of these 31 belong to the state and 16 are entirely private.

The state has not followed the policy of providing asylums for
foundlings, but a private institution exists in the capital city. Cities
and parishes usually board out foundlings with persons who accept
them for low wages, and about one-half such infants die. A public
health law of 1876 required the parish physicians to exercise superin-
tendence over such children ; but as only about one-third of the
parishes employed physicians the law was not generally effective.

Guardian Schools (Kinderbczvahranstalten). — The evils of leav-
ing little children alone while parents were at work were realized by a
few persons early in the nineteenth century. The Countess Theresia
Brunswick opened a school in 1828 at Kristinenstadt. In 1867
there were 97 schools, and in 1897 there were 1,143. The rise of the
kindergarten movement began to affect those arrangements about
^ Das Konigreich Ungarn, von Dr. Alexander von Matlekovitz, Leipsic, 1900.


1869, and associations were formed to propagate the ideas of Froe-
bel. Legislation brought these schools under state care in 1891.
The law then passed prescribed as their function the protection of
infants between the ages of 3 and 6 years during the absence of their
parents, and their training in order, cleanliness, neatness, and the
care of their health and physical and moral development. The
schools and shelters must be in charge of trained teachers. They
are supported by the state, by communes, churches, associations,
cities, endowments and private persons. Wherever there are enough
children to require it a guardian school must be established. Formal
instruction is not given. The little ones learn informally to pray, to
talk distinctly, to sing, and to play, without subjecting them to strain.
Children who are not directly watched over by parents are required
to be placed in such schools.

There are in Hungary three houses of correction for delinquent
children which are used for the morally perverted who in some
countries would go to reform schools, and also for criminals under
16 years of age.

Since 1867 Hungary has made great progress in elementary edu-
cation. The number of common schools (outside of Croatia and
Slavonia) in the year 1869 was 13,789, and by 1897 had risen to
16,951, or 22 per cent. The number of pupils rose from 1,152,115
in the year 1870 to 2,341,624 in the year 1897, or 103 per cent.

M. Hungary's Savings Banks and Social Policy. — The
deposits in savings banks increased from 72.6 million gulden in 1867
to 837.2 million gulden in 1897.^ The government organized postal
savings banks in 1885. The number of depositors increased from
539,064 in 1886 to 1,002,369 in 1897, and the deposits from 3,934,630
gulden to 20,802,025.

The development of industries and cities has brought to Hun-
gary the "labor question." The Socialists carried their propaganda
into Hungary as early as 1867 and have been strongly influenced by
the German movement and parties. Trade unions grew up in the
more advanced trades. The "social policy" of Hungary began with
the organization of funds to help in sickness, and in this movement
the employers frequently took the initiative, about the middle of the
last century. It was discovered that this voluntary form of insur-
ance was confined almost entirely to the well-paid artisans, and that

' A. V. Matlekovitz, Das Konigreich Ungarn, I, xxix, II, 569.



those who most needed it, the unskilled, derived no benefit from it.
The voluntary principle broke down. In 1891 the government made
it obligatory on all employes in certain industries to contribute to a
fund, not more than 3 per cent, of their wages, the employer paying
one-third of the premiums. In return medical care and money in-
demnities are guaranteed. In 1897 there were 426 funds, with 594,-
778 members, and receipts of 4,783,373 gulden.

Very important in the prevention of pauperism is a system of
factory regulations protecting laborers against danger and sickness,
with a force of inspectors to inforce the law. In 1872 the govern-
ment provided regulations and administrative agents for this purpose.
In later years this legislation has been improved and made more



A. Legislation.

The constitution of Switzerland, which may be revised by Federal
legislation, under the rule of the referendum and initiative, is the
supreme law of the land. Under it a Federal government acts for
the composite nation in matters of peace, war and treaties. The
highest legislative and executive authority is vested in a parliament
having two houses, the State Council and the National Council ; these
united are called the Federal Assembly.

The nation is divided into cantons, each of which, within the
limits of the Constitution, makes its own laws, by direct action of the
voting citizens. Each canton is divided into districts (Auitsbecirkc),
and districts are made up of communes. The people dwell chiefly in
small towns or villages, and none of the cities are large. Geneva,
the largest, in 1897, had 86,535 inhabitants.

Historical Sketch. — Mediaeval relief in Switzerland, as in
other parts of Europe, was administrated by the church, through
parish and monastic agencies, and by indiscriminate and impulsive
almsgiving. The plague of beggars spread through the valleys of
Switzerland as along the Thames, the Tiber and the Rhine. The
same causes everywhere produced similar results ; the breaking up of
serfdom and feudal control, the habit of wandering, the vicious cus-
toms of almsgiving without consideration of effects on character, and
the inadequacy of ecclesiastical machinery to deal with sturdy mendi-
cant rogues, all increased the swarm of parasites. The evil was ag-
gravated in this land by the custom of sending out mercenary sol-
diers to earn their living in foreign armies. Military life demoralized

' Here, as in many other places, the articles of Dr. E. Miinsterberg have been
drawn upon for materials, as stated in the preface.




young men ; the long absence of husbands broke up homes ; and of
those who returned many were without skill and habits of regular
industry. The ordinary agencies of relief could not manage this
dangerous and aggressive element of the population, and it was found
to be necessary to invoke the police power of the governments to give
security to life, property and order. The first intervention of gov-
ernment was therefore repressive, punitive, deterrent; and the can-
tons enacted strict regulations against begging and vagabondage.
Since the principle of local responsibility for local dependents had
long been accepted, the cantonal authorities required those who
sought assistance to make their appeal to their neighbors in their
own commune.

The Influence of Communism on Pauperism. — The common land
of the communes in various parts of Switzerland formerly was
used for the general benefit, all members of the neighborhood hav-
ing certain rights in it. In more recent times, as the land was taken
up for private ownership and so came to be better cultivated, that
which remained as a common possession became a source of income
reserved for the poor, that is, for the most inefficient persons in the
population. The consequence was that the inefficient were still more

Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonModern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods → online text (page 15 of 73)