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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authorities, the boarding-out system is liable to develop serious evils.
Again, others oppose the system for purely abstract reasons, such
as, that it puts the child of the pauper in a better position than the
child of the independent laborer. Owing to this opposition the
boarding-out system has made but little progress in England since
its introduction from Scotland about 1870. In 1900 there were


7,358 children boarded out, of whom 5,448 were boarded out within
the unions to which they belonged, and 1,910 were boarded out out-
side of the union.

There is no attempt in England to place children in families with
a view to their later adoption, according to the American plan. The
law does provide, however, for the adoption of dependent children.
They must be visited during a period of three years after their adop-
tion, by the guardians, twice each year; and the guardians may at
any time during this period revoke their consent to adoption if they
think fit.

Here may be noted the plan of procuring the emigration of orphan
or deserted children to the colonies, where suitable homes are supposed
to be found for them. Orphan or deserted children under sixteen
may, with their own consent and the consent of the Local Govern-
ment Board, be sent to Canada under the following conditions :
They must be entrusted to a responsible party, who, after placing
them, must report the name and age of each child and the name and
address of the person with whom the child is placed, to the Depart-
ment of Agriculture at Ottawa, to the guardians of the union from
which the child is taken, and to the Local Government Board.
Protestant children must be placed with Protestant families and
Catholic children with Catholic families ; before emigration the chil-
dren must have had a certain amount of schooling and receive a
health certificate from the medical officer. The emigration of girls
above the age of twelve is strongly disapproved by the Local Govern-
ment Board. The number of children assisted to emigrate from
year to year by the Poor Law authorities is comparatively small, not
more than two hundred a year.

(7) One other method of dealing with pauper children remains
to be noticed : the guardians may apprentice or send them out to
service. This method is now reserved for dealing with older chil-
dren, the law providing that any poor child above the age of nine
years who can read and write his own name may be apprenticed out.
Apprenticeship is considered a sort of relief, though neither parent
nor child need be in receipt of other relief at the time. The term of
apprenticeship cannot be for more than eight years. The consent of
the person to be apprenticed, if over fourteen years of age, must be
obtained ; and the consent of parent or guardian, if the child is under
sixteen, is usually required. The person to whom the child is ap-



prenticed must be a "housekeeper or assessed to the poor-rate in his
own name." If the child is under sixteen the guardians must pay
a premium partly in money and partly in clothing. In return the
master has to teach the trade or business agreed upon, to the child,
and has to provide proper food, lodging, and clothing, and in case of
sickness or accident, medical assistance ; he must arrange for suitable
religious instruction being given according to the creed of the ap-
prentice ; and finally, after the age of seventeen, the apprentice must
be paid such wages as the guardians may stipulate. If the terms
of indenture are transgrassed, it is cancelled.

In a similar manner boys may be apprenticed to masters or owners
of ships for service at sea. Guardians may also pay the expenses of
boys, whose parents are in receipt of relief, to the nearest port to
be examined for entrance into His Majesty's naval service.

Guardians must cause all apprentices under sixteen to be visited
twice a year by a relieving officer or other suitable person, who
reports to them upon the condition, treatment, and conduct of the

The Guardianship of Dependent Children. — The guardians may
at any time by resolution assume control over a child who is wholly
or partly maintained out of the poor rates and ( i ) who is deserted
by its parents; (2) whose parents, in their opinion, are unfit to have
control of it by reason of vicious habits, or mental deficiency; (3)
whose parents are unable to perform their parental duties by reason
of imprisonment or being permanently disabled; (4) both of whose
parents are dead. By an act of 1899 the control of the guardians
over such a child lasts until the age of eighteen, and it is safeguarded
by severe penalties for interference with the child over whom control
has been assumed. Moreover, if a child has been deserted or aban-
doned by its parents, or allowed to be brought up at the expense
of another person or a private institution, the court may, at its dis-
cretion, refuse custody of a child to such parent, if he be judged an
unfit person for the custody of his child, and grant the custody of
the child to such private person or institution.

Morally Imperilled Children. — For morally imperilled children
there are four classes of schools — the Reformatory Schools, the In-
dustrial Schools, the Truant Schools, and the Day Industrial Schools.
The first two rest upon voluntary foundations and are under private
management, though they receive public moneys in payment for chil-


dren committed to them by the courts and are subject to inspection
by government inspectors. The truant schools and the day indus-
trial schools, on the other hand, are under the control of school boards
and so are maintained directly out of public funds. They are a
somewhat recent experiment and are confined to large urban centers.
The functions of these four different classes of schools we will con-
sider in the order named.

(i) The reformatory schools are for children with distinctly
criminal tendencies under sixteen years of age who have been con-
victed in a regular manner of an offense punishable by penal servi-
tude or imprisonment. Children under twelve are rarely sent to these
schools unless they have been previously convicted. The commit-
ment is for a period of from two to five years, or the court may
make an indefinite commitment, lasting not less than three years
nor longer than the age of nineteen. Imprisonment in a jail or
local prison previous to reception in a reformatory school was by
an act of 1899 abolished. As these schools may be regarded as
strictly a part of the English penal system, they will not be further
considered here, except to say that in management and organization
they are similar to the industrial schools.

(2) The industrial schools are for morally neglected and incor-
rigible children under fourteen years of age, and also for children
under twelve with criminal tendencies who have not been previously
convicted of felony. As was said above, these schools were originally
established by voluntary agencies, mainly by religious denominations,
but they now derive their support almost wholly from grants made by
the treasury, school boards, and county councils. They must be certi-
fied by the Local Government Board as fit for the reception and train-
ing of morally neglected and refractory children, and they are in-
spected periodically by a government inspector of reformatory and
industrial schools. In 1900 the number of industrial schools was 142,
and they had under detention 24,718 children.

Children may be committed by a magistrate to an industrial school
( I ) if found begging or receiving alms ; (2) if found wandering with-
out home or visible means of subsistence ; (3) if destitute, being either
orphans or having parents in prison ; (4) if found frequenting the
company of reputed thieves or reputed prostitutes; (5) if beyond the
control of parents or guardians, or if refractory in a Poor Law
school; (6) if habitually non-attendant upon the public schools;


(7) if convicted for the first time, being under twelve, of an offense
punishable by imprisonment.

As the Juvenile Court is yet unknown in England, the commit-
ment usually takes place through a justice or police court. Any
person may bring a child into court and if the magistrate finds that
the child comes under one of the above descriptions, he may send
him to a certified industrial school. A few of the industrial schools,
however, receive voluntary cases, i. c, those brought by parents or
guardians without a magisterial order. In this case, parents or
friends must pay for the care of the child. ]\Iagistrates must send
children to schools conducted in accordance with the religious per-
suasion of the children's parents.

A child may not be detained in an industrial school beyond the
age of sixteen, except with its own consent in writing. But by an
act of 1894 the managers of a school are entrusted with the super-
vision of children committed to them to the age of eighteen. After
eighteen months of detention a child may be "placed out on license"
with any trustworthy person. The license may be revoked at any
time and the child recalled to the school if the managers think it
necessary for the protection of the child. A child above the age
of ten, who remains refractory, may be sent to a certified reformatory

The industrial training given in the industrial schools has been
much improved within the last few years. Now the best schools
employ competent teachers who give technical instruction of a high
grade, both theoretical and practical. The efficiency of the schools
is, however, greatly injured by lack of classification, especially classi-
fication according to age. Usually children of all ages from seven
to sixteen and of very different characters are found together in one
school without much attempt at classification. In spite of this and
other drawbacks, the industrial schools seem fairly successful in
their work of reclaiming wayward children. It is estimated that
about eighty per cent, of the boys who pass through these schools
do well in after life.

(3) Truant schools are provided by school boards under the Ele-
mentary Education Act of 1876 for children who are habitual truants
from the public schools. On account of the short period of detention
of children committed to them, these schools have not been particu-
larly successful.



(4) Day industrial schools may also be provided by school
boards if the Secretary of State thinks them desirable for the proper
training and control of the children on account of the circumstances
of any class of the population of a school district. They differ
from truant schools in that any children who may be sent to indus-
trial schools may be committed to them as well as truants ; and
also in that the period of detention in them is much longer than in the
truant schools, though it must not exceed three years or go beyond
the age of fourteen. Children are committed to the day industrial
schools by magistrates in the same manner as to the certified industrial
schools. They are also received without a magisterial order upon re-
quest of a parent and a local authority. In these schools the children
are detained only during the day, as their name implies, being allowed
to return to their own homes after school hours. They are said to be
most successful.

C. Private Charity in England. — It has been claimed as one of
the chief merits of the English public relief system that by the sharp
delimitation of its field it gives ample room for the growth of a
private charity alongside of it.^ Every fully destitute person is en-
titled to relief under the Poor Law, and so is properly a public charge ;
on the other hand, those who need aid and yet are not "fully destitute"
are the proper objects of private charity. By thus giving private
benevolence a definite field to work in there is no doubt that, on the
one hand, the Poor Law has avoided the danger of drying up pri-
vate benevolence, while, on the other, it has encouraged the develop-
ment of a rational system of voluntary charity. But it must not be
supposed that the division of labor between public relief and private
charity in England is a hard and fast one. On the contrary, there
are continual overlappings and duplications of the public and private
systems, just as there are in other countries. Thus every form of
activity discussed in the preceding paragraphs, under public relief, is
duplicated by private effort. Nor does the State longer rigidly con-
fine public relief to the fully destitute. Especially in the case of the
defective classes, the deaf-mutes, the blind, the feeble-minded, the
epileptic, and the insane, is the tendency manifest for the State to take
upon itself the entire charge for the education or care of these
classes. On the other hand, private philanthropy has always cared
for a certain proportion of the fully destitute in England. Members

I Aschrott, Armengesetzgebung in Grossbritannien.



of the upper and middle classes who become dependent have always
largely been cared for by private charity ; while in recent years an
increasing number from the respectable laboring classes, who have
become dependent, are so cared for.

We have no statistics of the number who receive relief from pri-
vate sources in England. But from the extent and wealth of chari-
table institutions and societies one would judge that the number
who receive their benefits can not be much smaller than the number
who receive public relief.

Endoivcd Charities. — The most important private charities in
England are endowed charities. These include not only foundations
for educational and religious purposes, but also for private alms-
houses, for pensions for the aged poor, for relief of the sick, for fuel,
food, and clothing, and for gifts in money, or doles. Many of these
endowments are very ancient, having been created in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries and even earlier. Thus most of the endow-
ments for private almshouses, which are very numerous, were
created in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, during the in-
cipience of the Poor Law, when the Government encouraged such
gifts to supplement public relief. Such ancient endowments are
often of a purely local character, being limited in their scope to a
particular parish and controlled by the parish officials ; or they are
connected with some ancient guild or craft, having been originally
created for the relief of its poorer members.

The extent of these charitable endowments in England is very
great. In 1818 a commission was appointed to investigate endowed
charities, which finally completed its report in 1837. This report
enumerated 28,820 charitable endowments, whose gross aggregate
income was over £2,000,000 annually and which held in possession
over 523,000 acres of land. Since then the number and extent of
charitable foundations have increased enormously. It is, indeed,
probable that the endowments of the nineteenth century exceed in
extent those of all the previous centuries combined. A new digest
of endowed charities in England and Wales is now being compiled
by the charity commissioners, but has not yet been issued.

Judicial and administrative control over endowments has in
recent years become an important public question. It has been a dif-

^ See Kenney, Endowed Charities, and Annual Charities Register and Digest,
pp. cxlvi-cxlix.


ficult matter to harmonize many of the ancient endowments with the
conditions of modern Hfe. Indeed, in many cases, the objects for
which the endowments were made no longer exist. Thus we have
endowments for the ransom of prisoners captured by pirates, or for
the rehef of those imprisoned for debt. In many more cases, the
objects for which the endowment was created are now regarded as
harmful to society, such as the giving of doles in money or kind. To
meet these conditions a Board of Charity Commissioners was estab-
lished in 1853, and has since then had its powers considerably en-
larged. This is primarily a board with inspective and supervisory
powers, rather than a board of control. Through a staff of inspec-
tors the commissioners inspect the bulk of charitable endowment
annually. The light thus thrown on the working of endowments
has of itself done much to effect their improvement. The charity
commissioners have the further important power of remodeling ar-
rangements for the administration of a charitable endowment in
certain cases. All small endowments, the income from which does
not exceed £50, may be thus remodeled. But if the income from an
endowment exceeds £50 a year, the commissioners can not remodel its
administration, unless requested to do so by the trustees themselves.
This is a mischievous limitation, and practically makes impossible
the reform of some of the most antiquated, if not absurd, charitable
endowments in England.

There is but one possible remedy in cases where the trustees of
a useless or mischievous endowment refuse to apply for a scheme to
remodel its administration : the charity commissioners may carry the
case to the Court of Chancery, which is now a part of the High Court
of Justice. This court has jurisdiction not only to compel trustees
to perform the trusts reposed in them, but also to remodel the ar-
rangements of an endowment if the particular objects contemplated
by the founder no longer exist, or if the details prescribed by him are
found unworkable. But unfortunately the court has disclaimed the
power of remodeling arrangements made by the founder merely
because they are inconvenient or even pernicious to society. All
attempts to remove by act of Parliament this inability of the court
and of the charity commissioners to deal with mischievous endow-
ments, have thus far failed. Thus there are at present in England
no legal means to remold charitable endowments which have come to
be regarded as harmful to society.


D. Ecclesiastical Charity.

(i) The Church of England} — The secularization of the relief
system which followed the Reformation did not destroy the charitable
activities of the Church. On the contrary it left the Church free
to develop its charity along more natural lines. The burden of the
general relief of the poor was always one which the Qiurch was un-
fitted to bear, and an ecclesiastical relief system must have proved a
failure sooner or later in any course of development. The freeing
of the Church from this burden then gave it opportunity to expand
along the lines of voluntary benevolence ; and of this opportunity the
Church of England has made the largest possible use.

Many of the endowed charities discussed under the last head
are, in effect, church charities, since the controlling trustees are
church authorities — churchwardens, vicars, bishops, or other church
officials. Some of the ancient endowments were confiscated or secu-
larized during the reign of Henry VIII., but many more remained
intact under practical church control. The charities supported by
these ancient endowments include, as we have seen above, numerous
almshouses, gifts for education, apprenticing, pensions, and doles
of money, food, and clothing. These charities are unfortunately
often narrow in their scope, being limited frequently to the members
of a single church or parish, and to objects which are now considered

The more recently established charities of the English Church,
however, partake of the broad and enlightened humanitarianism of
the nineteenth century,^ and cover almost every object of philan-
thropic endeavor. Thus in the field of the care of the sick the Church
maintains seventy-four cottage hospitals and sixteen special hospitals ;
thirty-seven convalescent homes for men and women, twenty-four
for women and children, twelve for children only, and six for gentle-
women — all of these institutions being conducted on a charitable
basis. Besides, to care for the sick poor in their own homes the
Church has twenty-six institutions which train and send out visit-
ing nurses.

In the realm of general relief work the Church has twenty-eight

^The facts given in this section have been obtained largely from the Church
of England Year Book, issue of 1903.

*For an account of the social work of the English Church and dissenting
churches, see R. A. Woods' English Social Movements.


sisterhoods, each with numerous branches, devoted to charitable
work. These, as well as several orders of deaconesses, undertake
along with religious work various forms of charitable work, such as
the care of orphan children, of the aged, or of the sick, the training
of poor girls for domestic service, and the visiting and relief of the
poor in their homes. There are also several church societies, such
as the "Metropolitan Visiting and Relief Association," whose purpose
is the visitation and relief of the poor in their own homes along with
religious work.

Among the most successful and extensive charities of the Church
of England are those which are affiliated with the "Reformatory and
Refuge Union." Such is the Children's Aid Society which had aided,
up to 1903, over 17,000 dependent and neglected children. Such also
is the Church of England Society for Providing Homes for Waifs
and Strays. This society has eighty-seven homes, all of small size,
the largest having a capacity of not more than forty. In 1903 these
homes contained 2,102 children, besides which 707 were boarded out
in families, 217 placed in other institutions, and seventy assisted to
emigrate. Finally, the Reformatory and Refuge Union includes
twenty-six reformatory and industrial schools for boys and twenty-
three similar institutions for girls maintained by the Church of Eng-
land. All of these schools are certified by the Local Government
Board as fit to receive children committed by magistrates under the
circumstances mentioned in the preceding chapter.

Closely allied to this work is that of the Church Penitentiary
Association. This association maintains forty-four "penitentiaries"
or homes for penitent fallen women. In these they are kept from
three months to three years and fitted to return to normal social life.
The association has also fifty-nine temporary refuges where penitents
are received on probation for a short time preparatory to their enter-
ing the above homes.

Besides the institutions for dependent children noted above, the
Church maintains fourteen orphanages for boys, forty-six orphan-
ages for girls, and thirteen for both boys and girls. The majority
of these institutions are of moderate or small size, although some of
them are large, containing upwards of three hundred children.

The Church Army, an organization within the Church of Eng-
land, whose purpose is primarily the evangelization of the laboring
classes, has developed a social work somewhat along the lines fol-


lowed by the Salvation Army. The social department of the Army
had under its charge in 1901 over one hundred labor and lodging
homes besides numerous other agencies, such as labor registers, food
depots, inebriates' homes, and prisoners' aid societies, for dealing
with dependent and semi-dependent persons. Over 30,000 cases
were dealt with in 1901 and £22,000 were paid in wages to inmates
of the Army's homes. It is claimed that forty-six per cent, of all
dealt with obtain a new start in life.

Among the many benevolent societies supported by the Church
for special objects, we can notice only one, and that is the "After-
Care Association," for the care of poor persons discharged from the
insane asylums. Its object is *'to facilitate the re-admission of poor
convalescents from lunatic asylums into social life," by obtaining for
them, when needful, a change of scene, by assisting them to obtain
suitable employment, and by grants of money and clothing. The
work of this society has been highly commended ; and it illustrates
the charitable activity of the Church at its highest level.

(2) The Roman Catholic Church} — Next after the Church of
England, the greatest development of charitable activities among
English religious denominations is to be found in the Roman Catho-
lic Church. This is perhaps because the traditions of charitable work
have been more continuous and permanent in this denomination than
in other branches of the Christian Church. Whatever may be the

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 23 of 73)