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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woman 20 fr. and sent her to Zurich and advised her to try her for-
tune there once more. In Zurich the woman appeared before the
agents of voluntary charity for residents, was a second time sent to
her place of residence, and was immediately returned for the third
time to Zurich. The importance of having the help come from the
place of residence is keenly felt. When this principle is carried out
the locality is more inclined to enter upon improvements and meas-
ures, as, for example, the greatest possible restriction of aid to out-
siders, the abolition of abuses, the restoration of personal relations
between boards and paupers, better education of children, and unity
in the plans of support. When paupers are aided outside the place
of actual residence it is very difficult to maintain personal oversight
of them, but when they are aided where they reside the task becomes
more comprehensive and grateful. Money is no longer regarded as
the sole means of assistance. Encouragement, counsel, preventive
and temporary measures, adapted and timely help, guidance into self-
help are possible, and action in view of circumstances rigorous or
protective is practicable without too great expense. The coopera-
tion of women in poor-relief, on which great emphasis is laid, and
rightly, can be employed only in local relief where all have access to
the means of help. It is not a woman's disposition to inquire for a
certificate of citizenship ; she sees need and misery and gives aid.

C. Private Charity. — It is not possible sharply to separate
private from public relief in Switzerland. The commune has many
of the features of an overgrown household, and mutual help better
designates relief than does a poor tax. The income from ancient
domains, common property of the civil corporation, is an important
source of income, available for the needy. Thus in 1895 out of 276
districts (Ortsbiirgergemeinde) of the canton of Aargau, 115 did
not need to levy a poor tax. Sometimes when voluntary gifts are
inadequate they are supplemented by a subsidy from the funds of the
commune, as, under the law of 1857, was the case in the canton of
Bern. Even when, as in Geneva and the City of Basel, there is no
tax, there are sources of public income available for relief.

By the law of 1897 in Basel the bureau of alms, the asylum and
the orphanage are reserved for relief of citizens. Transients from



abroad are helped by voluntary contributions. Owing to the
acknowledged inadequacy of voluntary gifts, the tendency is to ex-
tend state subsidies to private charities and to help non-residents.
Citizens who are permanently dependent are assisted by the civil
officers ; non-residents and aliens, in certain cases, are thus aided
only after a residence of two years in the commune, but the authori-
ties of their former home must contribute. The state grants a sub-
sidy not to exceed one-third of the year's expenditure. The state
provides for persons who are over 60 years of age, who have for
twenty-five years resided in the canton, of which five years immedi-
ately precede the application.

Relief is given in an institution or otherwise. Burial funds are
provided, and the sick are given treatment (laws of 1885 and 1891).
Even in voluntary charity residents may be legally required, under
penalty for refusal, to act as visitors. Women may perform this

Benevolent Societies. — The principal organization is the Swiss
Benevolent Society which grew out of the Zurich Aid Society founded
in 1799, and it includes all cantons of the Federation. The primary
inspiration and direction came from the philanthropical sentiments
of the Illumination (Aufkldning), and educational methods were
emphasized, since the philanthropists expected the removal of all
evils from education. Of late the society has entered into the field
of preventive philanthropy and social legislation. The organ of the
movement is the Swiss Journal of Beneficence, now over 40 years
old. Hunziker, the historian of the society, informs us that the topics
chiefly discussed by it are such as these : Work-houses and poor-
houses, care of children, local and territorial poor-relief, shelter for
wanderers. Red Cross Society, etc. Only three small cantons are
without organization of benevolent agencies. In Aargau, Solothurn
and Zurich the district societies are affiliated with a central society.
In the French cantons there are similar associations to promote econo-
my and public utility. The association of Basel is famous. These
societies interest themselves in care of poor school children, infir-
maries, feeding and clothing poor school children, care of inebriates
and medical supervision of schools.

There is an important auxiliary society of women which has
established a school for nurses at Zurich in connection with a women's
hospital. The nurses are to be independent and not bound, as dea-



conesses are, to a mother-house. The prospectus announces the pur-
pose to give women easier access to a useful profession : "We Hve
in an age when women strive and are often compelled to open up new
ways of earning a living. It seems proper to make it possible for
women to enter that calling for which they are fitted by nature, and
which secures the fullest satisfaction and the widest development of
feminine gifts. Not every young woman who likes nursing can enter
an order, it may be for confessional reasons or because they cannot
release themselves from prior family claims so long as the orders
require." The prospectus speaks with regret of the necessity of
sending women to other countries, as to England, for technical train-
ing; and the purpose is declared to provide at home for their profes-
sional instruction.

The city of Zurich assists only persons with legal claims of settle-
ment, and therefore indigent persons from other places must be
helped from a different source.

Here enters the "Voluntary and Resident Relief," which is some-
thing more than a private benevolent society and fully performs the
function of an agency for relief of transient indigents. Its expendi-
tures in 1898 were 260,000 fr. for 2,082 temporary and 384 perma-
nent paupers, of whom 2,100 were Swiss and the others from foreign
countries ; citizens of the city 260, of the canton 888, and other Swiss
citizens 865. The expenditures on the members of other Swiss com-
munes are largely repaid; in 1898 the sum of nearly 150,000 fr. were
thus repaid, so that the "territorial principle" here is closely approx-


Directory of Charities (Zurich). — Apart from official tasks there
is a tendency of poor-relief to foster a closer union between institu-
tions of voluntary charity in order to prevent the professional ex-
ploitation of charity. This task is greatly lightened by the publica-
tion of a charity directory of the entire benevolent agencies of Zurich,
which bears the title "Zurich, deine Wohlthaten erhalten dich," which
appeared in July, 1900. This beautifully written and illustrated vol-
ume furnishes a history of Zurich benevolence. It deals with 167
benevolent institutions and associations of the city of Zurich whose
annual expenditures are 5 2-3 millions of francs ; the divisions being,


A. Poor-relief (round numbers) 545,000 fr.

B. Medical relief 2,835,000 fr.

C. Care of children 320,000 fr.

D. Care of aged 40,000 fr.

E. Social amelioration 1,500,000 fr.

F. Endowments and funds 320,000 fr.

G. Beautifying Zurich 105,000 fr.

The editor of the book calls attention to the fact that relatively too
little is given for care of children and urges contributions for this
purpose. The detailed descriptions of organs of beneficence reveal
to the prosperous citizens the agencies by which, through gift or
legacy, they can practically express their sympathy, A charity di-
rectory of this kind has high value in stimulating and guiding benefi-
cence, as in Berlin, London, Paris, New York, Boston, etc.

G. Homeless Dependents, Vagrants and Stations for
Help. — The gaps left by the restriction of local relief to citizens of
the place (Ortsbiirger) are enlarged by the fact that assistance is
legally provided only for regular paupers. Thus it happened that
the temporarily unemployed who were unable to work and the im-
migrants who were excluded from local relief were referred to vol-
untary charity. The disadvantages of doles and indiscriminate alms-
giving were most apparent at the centers of population. Between
1870 and 1880 various societies were founded for the purpose of
dealing with mendicancy by aiding wanderers with money or food,
etc., by regular methods. More and more the methods were brought
into line with the German methods {N aturalverpfle gungsstationen) ,
and in December, 1887, the intercantonal union for stations of assist-
ance was founded. The task of this union is to establish a network
of stations and at these to give needed help to wanderers in the form
of shelter and food. The eflfort is made so far as possible to require
the possession of satisfactory certificates {Ausweisschriften) and a
permit to travel and receive help, and also to demand labor in return
for relief (law of July, 1893, which supersedes that of 1887). Ac-
cording to the report for 1896 eleven cantons belonged to the Union.
In Aargau, Thurgau, SchafFhausen, Lucerne and St. Gall the station
system is legally established, in Zurich, Bern, Glarus, Solothurn,
Basel-Land and Zug it rests on voluntary action. The Union in-
cludes chiefly northeast Switzerland, which, on account of its prox-
imity to Germany and Austria, has most need of such an arrange-


ment. While a still closer connection is sought with Wurttemburg
and Austria, it has already been made with Baden, the annual assem-
blies of the Union being held alternately in Baden and in Switzer-
land. The employment bureau feature at the stations is fostered
as far as practicable, but has not extended beyond modest beginnings.
The number of wanderers reached a total of 129,234 persons in the
year 1896-7, of whom 70,463 were Swiss and 41,703 were Germans.
The entire expenditure was 112,305 fr., of which about half was paid
by the states. To the head of population the expense reached 8 fr.,
against 12.5 fr. in the former years. A marked diminution of the
number of wanderers is noticeable, being 44,000 in the year of the
report as compared with 47,000 of the previous year.

The whole number assisted in 1900 was 147,583, of whom 40,000
received mid-day and 107,000 night care ; Swiss persons, 59 per
cent. ; Germans, 28.5 per cent. Expenses of all countries in the
Union were 136,560 fr. ; 28,000 for administration, 91,800 fr. for
relief at night, 57,178 fr. state subsidy.

H. Care of the Sick Poor. — Switzerland originated and de-
veloped a useful form of charity, magazines for appliances for the
sick. Reitzenstein mentioned them in 1893. In 1885 there were 18
in all Switzerland; in 1895 there were 119 communes in the canton
of Zurich alone which had them. They have extended to the north-
ern cantons, as especially in Aargau, Solothurn, Basel and Thurgau.
The magazine in Zurich is a municipal institution and is under the
supervision of the city council and particularly under the board of
health. The appliances are furnished on the order of authorized phy-
sicians, and, in case of necessity, without such order. After a period
of use of three months the administration decides whether the holder
of the appliances has any further need of them. Persons who are
able must pay a moderate sum according to a schedule of fees for
their use ; destitute persons and benevolent societies use them without
pay. Forty-seven kinds of appliances were held for use in Zurich,
63 in Bern, and in smaller places fewer. Among the appliances are
named bath apparatus, thermometer, bedding, ice bags, rolling chairs,
inhalation apparatus, sick chairs, night chairs, crutches, etc.

Tuberculosis. — The recent movement to contend with consump-
tion is very earnestly pressed. At present Switzerland possesses
three large and four smaller hospitals with about 400 beds ; Bern
having 400 beds, Basel 86 beds, the Sanatorium at Braunweld 29,



Zurich 88, and some smaller ones 15 to 20 beds. New hospitals
are founded in the cantons of Geneva, Aargau, Waadt, Graubiinden,
St. Gall, Lucerne and others. The hospitals serve for treatment of
those who are beginning to suffer from lung tuberculosis, while ad-
vanced cases are treated in ordinary hospitals.

Two new sanatoria were reported as opened in 1902-3. The
principal advance in legislation has been the law adopted by the peo-
ple of Grisons in 1902. This law prescribes compulsory registra-
tion and disinfection, creates a laboratory for the examination of
sputum, provides for the special investigation of localities which
show an undue number of deaths from consumption, and recommends
to neighboring communes the adoption of regulations about expec-
toration and the disinfection of railway carriages and public places.
A movement has been started in Bern for providing open-air resorts
for persons who from weakness or incomplete recovery from some
other illness or from any predisposing cause are candidates for tuber-

Inebriate Asylums. — Switzerland is in advance of other countries
in this form of relief. It has ten of these institutions, most of them
securely established. In 1898, 165 persons were cared for. Between
10 and 20 are accommodated at a time in each establishment. The
most important is that of Ellikon, near Zurich, founded in 1889. The
medical measures employed are : Entire abstinence, good food, work
and moral and religious influences. On the basis of experiments
the unshaken judgment is held that the instantaneous removal of
liquor, even if at the time it seems intolerable to the patient, never
has serious consequences. Agricultural work is given the prefer-
ence. The cases of cure are not comparatively great. Of the pa-
tients thus far treated 846 may be described as cured, while 1.346
were not cured, died, became insane or are unknown, a ratio of 39
to 61 per cent. ; while if the insane and dead are excluded the ratio
is about one-half.
J. Care of Defectives. —

The Blind. — In 1895-6 was taken a census of the blind in Switzer-
land, whose results have a value for all countries. The investigation
was conducted by a private committee aided by physicians in all thd
cantons. The federal government assisted the committee by grant-
ing free postage and paying the cost of circulars and schedules.

^ Charities, August 29, 1903.


Certain difficulties were encountered by the investigators ; it was
found that the blind were often averse to revealing their condition,
and that some of the agents were not sufficiently careful. But the
results are regarded as trustworthy in all essential particulars.

The census of 1895 gave in all 2,107 blind persons, or 7.22 in
10,000 of population, as against 2,032 or 7.61 in 10,000 shown in the
census of 1870. Switzerland seems to be about on a level with Ger-
many, and inferior only to the Netherlands and Denmark in European
countries. More males than females are afflicted. Blindness occurs
frequently in the first five years of life, diminishes with maturity,
and increases again in old age. In respect to ownership of property
and means of support it appears that of all the blind there are only 350
(16.6 per cent.) cared for in institutions; 937 are employed, 88 per
cent, in private places and 11.2 per cent, in institutions ; 1,162 are un-
employed, of whom 917 are in private care, and the others are in insti-
tutions, and most of them have other defects. Of the unemployed
755 (35-8 per cent.) were without means and dependent. The ratios
of those with means, those earning incomes and those dependent were
33, 10, 55 per cent. It is not definitely known how many of those
aided are adequately provided for and how many should be sent to

The committee suggests these directions for future effort : No
blind child should grow up without school instruction ; none should
be left to suffer from want ; private charity should increasingly enter
this field to help; preventive measures should be employed in dis-
pensaries and otherwise ; and medical men generally should under-
stand the causes and proper treatment of common diseases of the
eye and not depend too much on specialists.

The Deaf. — The first school for the deaf was established in 181 1
by J. K. Naf, a pupil of Pestalozzi. There are now 16 institutions,
with 723 pupils (May, 1901 ). There are no continuation schools, but
the youth after the ordinary course of instruction go to industrial

Feeble-Minded. — In 1897 an enumeration of feeble-minded chil-
dren of school age was taken by the federal statistical bureau, with
the assistance of local school boards and teachers. The results of
the census in all cantons, published in March, 1897, was :

*Zeit. f. d. Armenwesen, 1903, p. 170.



Children Per cent.

I. Feeble-minded of low grade 5»052 or 39

11. Feeble-minded of higher grade 2,615 or 20

III. Enfeebled in body only 1,848 or 14

IV. Idiots, deaf mutes, blind 2,405 or 18

V. Neglected alone 1,235 o^ 9

Totals 13,155 or 100

There are many who are in some measure feeble-minded but still
capable of intellectual development. Of 470,000 children in the pri-
mary schools of Switzerland in 1900, 16.3 are more or less affected.
As to the method of dealing with them, actual or desirable :

557 children are taught in a special class ;

411 children are placed in an institution for feeble-minded;

104 children are in orphanages, etc. ;

5,585 children require special treatment in separate classes or
institutions ;

534 children, a special treatment not required;

566 children, no information or advice.

Total 7,667 children.

A comparison of different communities shows interesting results.
Thus the city of Basel may serve as a model, for there it is shown
how the state may cooperate with private instruction in order to
render practical aid. Of 241 children thus treated 139 were cared
for in special classes, 73 in institutions, li were excluded from the
schools and only in 10 cases was individual treatment desirable.

In May, 1900, the second part of the census appeared; this pub-
lication deals exclusively with those children whose mental or physical
condition did not permit admission to public primary instruction, and
who therefore must be recommended for special care. The defects
were distributed as follows :

No. Per cent.

I. Children, low grade of feeble-mindedness 920 32.2

II. Children, affected with cretinism 1 56 6.5

III. Children, hard of hearing, dumb or deaf mutes. . 889 37 -O

IV. Children, partly or entirely blind 108 4.5

V. Children, affected with epilepsy 129 5.4

VI. Children, with other defects 203 8.4

Totals 2,405 100. o


In 1898 the Central Teachers' Association urged the Federal
Council to secure further investigation of the nature of the defect,
its causes and remedies; and to consider the methods of securing
trained teachers for the care of the feeble-minded. The federal sta-
tistical bureau has begun to make annual examinations of school
children at entrance, if they manifest physical or mental defects.

In 1899 a training course for teachers of the feeble-minded was
given at Zurich under the auspices of the Swiss Benevolent Union
and the central school board of the city of Zurich. This course lasted
ten weeks and was attended by 13 teachers. The course included a
theoretical and a practical part; the theoretical aimed to give an
introduction to the study of the principles of physiology, psychology
and pedagogy especially involved; and the practical part gave in-
struction in methods of dealing with feeble-minded pupils in institu-
tions and schools.

K. Care of Neglected Children. — Switzerland, as well as
Germany, has come frankly to accept the principle that the state
must take a parent's place in the life of a neglected child and not
wait for it to commit an offense before care begins.

The government of Bern has adopted progressive measures in
this field. In December, 1900, a regulation was issued on the sub-
ject. Children are received in institutions for boys and girls, be-
tween the ages of 8 and 16 years, when charged with a penal offense
or are neglected without having committed a punishable act. If par-
ents or local authorities think it necessary a child may be placed
under compulsory training, without complicated legal process. The
expense of maintenance is between 150 and 400 fr. In the institu-
tions the ideal of family life is realized as far as possible. Not more
than 12 to 15 children are kept in a group under one man or woman.
Work in school, household, garden and field is the principal means
of training. All the family groups form a community under the
direction of a superintendent.

Children's vacation outings {Ferien-Kolonien or Colonies de va-
cances) are worthy of notice. Children belonging to the primary
schools are sent to suitable places under the care of teachers, and live
in plain wooden shelters or in huts. They go in companies of 20 to
50 persons, for about two weeks. The support comes from volun-
tary subscriptions and occasional contributions of city administra-
tions. St. Gall supports its colonies from the educational funds. In



Zurich there is an association which owns a convalescent station in
an elevated and healthy site near Gais (Appenccll), which receives
patients during the entire year, and has a capacity for lOO children
and 30 boarders. Poor and feeble children are selected by teachers
for a period of recuperation at this colony.

L. Care of Youth. — In the ordinances of Bern are very inter-
esting provisions for youth. Stipends are given to young people of
both sexes, who are without means or friends, to enable them to learn
trades, when they give evidence of adequate ability, industry at school
and good behavior. The inspector of the poor is charged with car-
ing for these youths ; he must know them personally and give them
counsel. He must confer with children in institutions during the
months next preceding the time when they are to pass the school age
and go out; give them advice as to selecting a calling; and advise
with the foster parents. Patrons are selected to have oversight of
such youths and are required to keep a record of all that happens
to them ; with responsibility to the poor-relief authorities.
M. Preventive Measures. —

The Alcohol Tenth. — The Federation of Switzerland has sought
to restrict and control the distilled liquor traffic and compel consumers
of alcohol to bear part of the social burden incident to that traffic
by assuming a monopoly of the business and using a part of the
profits for charitable purposes. The law was enacted in 1886- 1887.
The Federation bought up the distilleries and required a fee from
importers of fine liquors. The minor distilleries were destroyed
and about 60 to 70 places of moderate size in the country were per-
mitted to produce. One-tenth of the value of the product is devoted
to such establishments as hospitals for inebriates, work-houses, in-
stitutions for the insane, for the feeble-minded and for young of-
fenders. The cantons receive annually about 450,000 fr. for such

In the administration of this tithe it appears that the cantons
have employed their shares in the following ways : Inebriate asy-
lums, workhouses and reformatories, insane asylums, asylums for
epileptics, deaf mutes and the blind, aid of the sick, aid for poor,
feeble-minded and abandoned children, and for youthful oflfenders,
school kitchens and vacation colonies, improvement of the popular
diet, aid to transient laborers who are poor, aid to discharged pris-


oners and the unemployed, popular education and professional train-
ing, encouragement of temperance.

The total amount of the tithe for 1902 was 581,879 fr. Much of
the money is spent on objects which ordinarily are supported by taxa-
tion, and only a small part for the specific purpose named in the con-
stitution. Thus in 1902 the prisons and asylums received 226,239 fr.
and neglected children 236,440 fr., while inebriate asylums received
only 41,693 fr. and general temperance work 52,331 fr.

It is too early to form a settled judgment as to the social tendency

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 17 of 73)