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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Assembly of the Church of Scotland accepted the deaconess work
as an organic part of the ecclesiastical system and gave it the sanction
and support of the legislature of the church. It is noteworthy that
about the same time (May 18, 1888) the Methodist Episcopal Church
in the United States adopted the same principle. The Scottish Gen-
eral Assembly adopted rules bearing on the admission, training, garb,
and support of deaconesses, quite like those already known in Eng-

^ The Local Government Board reported for the year ending May 14, 1895,
that the whole sum derived from church collections in assessed parishes wals
£41,481, of which £7,444 was expended on relief of the poor, the balance being
expended for other purposes. Cf. Rules, Instructions, and Recommendations of
the Local Government Board for Scotland (1897), p. 208.

"The whole sum derived from church collections in assessed parishes during
the year ended 15th May, 1902, as returned to us, was £48,016, of which £6,111
is stated to have been expended on relief of the poor. These funds are gen-
erally employed to afford aid to persons who have fallen into temporary difficulties,
with a view to prevent them from becoming chargeable to the parish as paupers;
and it is probable that few of the persons so assisted have also been chargeable
to the funds raised by assessment." Eighth Annual Report of the Local Gov-
ernment Board for Scotland (1902), p. xv-xvi.



land. In 1893 a Deaconess Institution c-^ecured property in Edin-
burgh at a cost of $11,500, which provided for school, chapel, kinder-
garten and mission activities. A hospital, with facilities for training
nurses, was erected in 1894 and enlarged in 1897. It is proposed
to extend the work to other cities. In order to secure for the deacon-
ess nurses the certificate of the Royal British Association for nurses a
hospital in which they are trained must have at least forty beds, and
this condition has been met by the enlargement of the institution at
Edinburgh. Rev. Archibald H. Charteris, D.D., has been a promi-
nent leader in this advance. His statement is that woman's work is
a pyramid, whose broad base is the Woman's Guild, with the dea-
coness work at the apex. The nurses and visiting missionaries are
under the direction of the officers of the parish in which they labor.

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has a Commit-
tee on Christian Life and Work which stimulates and directs the phil-
anthropic activities of the various voluntary societies of women and
young people in that body. The reports of this committee are in-
structive in relation to the charitable activities of members of the
establishment. An appeal quoted in one of these reports voices the
motive : "Let us do more to make the church a living power over
poor folks, not so much for church defence as for Christianity's own
sake, which is nothing if not a mission of tenderness and sympathy
to them, such as can only be conducted effectually with woman's

The Women's Guild of the Church of Scotland is a national
organization which has established branches in the congregations as
widely as possible. The sections of these local branches carry on
various kinds of philanthropic service, as : Visiting the sick and
poor ; hospitality to the lowly ; entertainment for the people ; mother's
meetings ; Dorcas society ; temperance society, and religious work
in Sunday Schools and homes. The Guilds of Young People are also
guided into social service.-

The Episcopal Church in Scotland reports for 1903 collections for
Rescue work, £363 19s. 5d. ; for Temperance work, £139 12s. 4d. ; for
Mission to Fisher Folk,f 183 i8s. 4d. ; for Widows and Orphans Fund,

^ History of the Deaconess Movement in the Christian Church, by C. Colder,
1903, p. 201. W. Gladden, The Christian Pastor and the Working Church, pp.
299, 309.

* Report on the Schemes of the Church of Scotland, 1886, p. 412.



£462 9s. 2d. The Rescue Work is carried on by Sisters on behalf
of erring and tempted girls and women. Connected with the mis-
sion among fishers there are nurses who dress wounds and care for
the sick.^

E. Co-operation. — In the year 1869 the Board of Supervision
(now Local Government Board) issued a circular letter on division of
labor between public and private agencies of relief, in which they
urged that distributors of private charity should exercise great cau-
tion in affording assistance, without the knowledge and concurrence
of the parochial authorities, to any person who is either a proper
object or a recipient of parochial relief. They said that the proper
course was to refer the applicants to the inspector of the poor, and,
at the same time, to transmit to that officer such information as they
had obtained regarding them.- The advocates of the present Poor
Laws declare that the neglect of these principles of division of labor
between public and private charity, and the custom of indiscriminate
almsgiving, are responsible for the continuance of vagrancy and

The Charity Organization Society Movement had its origin in
the party opposed to compulsory assessment for poor-relief. It was
their hope to create an organization which would make public out-
door relief unnecessary and so lead to its abolition. Indoor relief
they did not expect to supplant. But gradually the purpose has
changed, and now the idea of doing away with public assistance to
the feeble and aged in their homes is held by a comparatively
small number of persons. The societies for cooperation seek to pre-
vent dependence and to reinstate the destitute in normal economic
relations. The Scottish and English Societies work in the same gen-
eral direction.

The Glasgow Charity Organization Society* was started in May,
1874, under the title, "The Association for Organizing Charitable
Relief and Repressing Mendicity," and is now known by its short
title "The Charity Organization Society." The objects are: (i)

^Annual Report of Representative Chvirch Council, Edinburgh, 1903.

^ Rules, Instructions and Recommendations issued by the Local Government
Board for Scotland (1897), p. 93.

^ Lamond, Scottish Poor Laws, p. 122 ff.

* The following clear account was kindly furnished by Mr. J. T. Strang, Secre-
tary of the Glasgow C. O. S. in a letter to Mr. F. L. Tolman, April 3, 1903.


The assistance of the poor, in such a manner as shall effect perma-
nent benefit in their condition. (2) The organization of charitable
efforts in the city and the prevention of overlapping; the repression
of mendicity ; the exposure of imposture ; and the collection and dis-
tribution of subscriptions for all bona-fide charitable and benevolent
institutions in the city. (3) The promotion of thrift and of well-
advised methods for improving the conditions of the poor.

The following are some of the methods adopted to carry out the
objects of the Society: (i) Cooperation with the Magistrates, the
Parish Councils, the School Boards, the Charities, the Churches, and
Individual Workers. (2) Grants, loans, fares, clothing, medical
aid, employment, etc., in cases where such assistance cannot be ob-
tained from other charitable sources, or from relatives. The Labour
Yard provides temporary relief for the able-bodied married men,
and is a test of their desire to work ; the Industrial Shelter provides
food and lodging for homeless single men in return for work done ;
the Clothing Scheme deals with destitute children under fourteen
years of age, whose parents are not in receipt of parochial relief;
the Work Room of the Ladies' Auxiliary gives employment in needle-
work to poor and respectable elderly women. (3) Friendly Visitors,
to watch over cases in which sympathy and counsel are specially
needed. (4) Collecting Savings Banks, to encourage thrift through
the weekly house to house collection of small sums by volunteer col-
lectors. (5) Meetings of the Society from time to time for the
consideration of questions bearing on charitable effort. Careful and
judicious investigation is made in every case in which assistance is
asked, followed by the adjudication of the Relief Committees and
by appropriate treatment under their decision.

The affairs of the society are controlled by a Council of 48 mem-
bers, one-half of whom are elected annually from the subscribers,
and the other half from Public Bodies and Charitable Institutions.
The Council is, therefore, representative of those who are in sym-
pathy with and engaged in charitable and Social Work.

A staff of investigators is engaged making inquiries in the city
and immediate neighborhood regarding applicants for assistance and
discovering the facts as to character and circumstances and the cause
of distress, etc. Inquiries have also to be made very often in dis-
tant places, and in such cases the Society communicates with other
Charity Organization Societies ; but where these do not exist comma-


nication is made with the Superintendent of PoHce, the Inspector
of Poor or the minister of the Parish or other church, all of whom
most readily afford valuable information. Of course all information
is treated as private and confidential.

There are 1 1 kindred societies in the following places in Scotland,
viz. : Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, Kirkcaldy, Leith,
Montrose, Motherwell, Paisley, Perth and Uddingston.

During the past 28 years 149,410 cases have been brought under
the notice of the Society. In adjudicating upon these the Relief
Committees adopt the London C. O. S. classification of cases. They
are divided into three classes, viz. :

Class I. Dismissed as undeserving, ineligible, not requiring aid,
or having given false addresses. The number disposed of under this
class was 45,056 or 3034 per cent, of the total cases.

Class II. Indirectly assisted by reference to other agencies and
private parties. The number disposed of under this class was 59,219,
or 39^ per cent, of the total cases.

Class III, Directly assisted by the Society in loans, grants, lodg-
ings, clothing, employment, admission lines to infirmaries and con-
valescent homes, or medical attendance at home. The number dis-
posed of under this class was 45,135, or 30^^ per cent, of the total

The work of the Society has steadily increased year by year.
This is evident when it is mentioned that in the year 1874 the num-
ber of cases investigated was 146, whereas in the year 1902 the num-
ber investigated was 7,329. At three different periods during the
past 28 years the number of cases investigated was 11,107, ii^99i and
12,424 respectively. These were winters of exceptional distress,
when the magistrate opened relief works for the benefit of the unem-
ployed, and asked the aid of the Society in the investigation of appli-

And whilst the Society has been steadily progressing and is being
increasingly made use of by the citizens, the growth of the city has
also been very great. In the year 1872 the population of the city
and suburbs was 578,705, while now it is 924,000. The Council,
feeling, therefore, that it was impossible to do effective work from
a central office only, resolved 7 years ago to form local committees
throughout the city, for it is now generally recognized that such
committees are necessary to carry out the work of Charity Organiza-



tion in large cities. There are at present ten District Committees,
and it is intended to increase their number until the whole city is
covered. The District Committees are indeed only trying to do once
more in a new shape and modified to suit the conditions of this age,
wfiat Dr. Chalmers attempted with such wonderful success to accom-
plish in St. John's Parish, Glasgow, early in the last century. For
w'e believe that it is not money but "neighborliness," the friendship
between rich and poor, which arouses and stimulates all the resource-
fulness of the latter to help themselves, that is required to solve the
problem of destitution to-day, as it solved it then.

The Society was established, as has been stated, for the primary
object of organizing charity, preventing overlapping, exposing impos-
ture and repressing mendicity, but very soon it became evident that
the society would have to assist strictly a number of cases which
were not eligible for any other society or at least could not derive
all the assistance they required from them. Moreover, an increas-
ing number of private persons desire to bestow their gifts only with
the cooperation and through the medium of the C. O. S. Since its
foundation the Society has spent £27.784 12s. 7d. in this direction.

Among some of the direct methods of assistance used by the So-
ciety a brief notice may be made of the following, viz. :

( 1 ) The Labour Yard, instituted in 1884 to provide temporary
employment for able-bodied married men. Here it may be mentioned
that in Scotland it is illegal for the Poor Law Authorities or Parish
Councils to grant relief to able-bodied men. In dealing with them
the Council of the Society considered it wise to ofifer work as a means
of distinguishing between those really seeking it and those who were
not. The wisdom of this course has been fully justified by results.
Since the opening of the Yard the offer of work has been made to
7,590 men, of whom 2,558, or about 34 per cent, declined it.

(2) The Industrial Shelter for Homeless Men opened in 1894
to provide temporary employment for homeless unmarried men by
giving shelter and food in exchange for work. The following figures
give the results from the commencement to 31st December, 1902:
Admitted, 2,132. Left, having found work, 588; left of their own
accord, 622; sent to Farm Colony, 178; sent to Hospital, etc., 116;
sent home to friends, 48 ; sent to Poorhouse, 23 ; dismissed for vari-
ous reasons, such as drunkenness, indolence, bad characters, etc., 557.

It should be borne in mind in considering the justification of start-


ing the above institutions that in Scotland the Poor Law does not
reheve able-bodied men or women and their families, therefore they
may fill a very useful place and escape doing the harm, if wisely
managed, which in many places, {e. g., in England) under a differ-
ent Poor Law would undoubtedly result.

(3) The Poor Children's Clothing Scheme originated in 1893
to supply clothing to the children of those who, through poverty,
are unable to provide what is needful. In carrying on this relief
work, the main idea has been to direct into proper channels much in-
discriminate giving, and the principles of the Society are strictly acted
on. Every case is thoroughly investigated before any action is taken,
and while on the one hand help is given, on the other hand negli-
gent parents are induced, and sometimes compelled, to provide for
their children. Thus, much suffering in child life is mitigated.
Every safeguard is used to prevent the improper disposal of clothing,
as all the garments are stamped before being given away, and the
police, the pawnbrokers, the School Board and other agencies act
in cooperation. It is worthy of note that although 109,000 garments
and boots have been distributed there have been few attempts at
pawning and these have been in the main unsuccessful. Since the
commencement of the Scheme 36,332 children have been dealt with,
and of these 22,418 have been clad, the remainder having been re-
ferred to other Agencies or declined.

The supplies of clothing and money have been procured chiefly
through the Agency of the Glasgow Needlework Guild, started 9 years
ago by a number of ladies interested in the clothing of poor children.
The Guild has a membership of over 6,000 and since its origin it has
contributed 79,123 garments and over £2,800 in money.

(4) Pension Scheme. — Three years ago the Society started a
Pension Scheme. Only persons of 60 years of age and upwards
are eligible, of thoroughly good character, and who have, moreover, in
the past shown some rather exceptional degree of industry, self-
control, thrift or sacrifice for the sake of others. The money required
for a pension is, as far as possible, raised on each individual case
from relatives, past or present employers, friends, churches or any
other available source. The amount of the pension varies, but the
minimum is 5s. per week for a single person and 7s. per week for
a married couple, exclusive of rent. At present there are seven pen-
sioners on the roll.


(5) The Collecting' Savings Bank. — This method is preventive
rather than alleviative. "Prevention is better than cure." Improvi-
dence is found, in very many instances, to be the cause of a good deal
of poverty. With a view to fostering habits of thrift the Society in
1898 commenced a system of house to house visitation and collection
of small savings from those who do not make use of the existing
savings bank, penny banks, etc. Lady collectors call once a week
and receive deposits of one penny and upwards. The scheme has met
with encouraging success. During the first year of its existence
there were 574 depositors, the amount collected being £167. The
number of depositors at the end of May, 1902, was 1,388, the amount
collected being £1,062. This amount was collected from those who
had not hitherto formed the habit of saving any considerable sum
or who had thought it was impossible for them to lay up anything.
If they will not go to the bank, then the bank goes to them.

With the view of informing the public on social and charitable
questions a course of lectures and conferences are arranged every
now and then. Much interest has been taken in these lectures, their
object being to combine scientific views of social questions and of
administration with information drawn from practical experience,
and to embody the best economical teaching of our schools and uni-
versities in our various charitable and social activities, whether as
individuals, as municipalities or as a nation.

Charities Collection Central Agency.^ — This agency is closely
connected with the C. O. S. and is disposed to afford subscribers an
easy, simple, and economical method of giving their contributions to
the various reliable charities of the city. The amounts received for
the year ending May, 1902, and paid over to the respective treasurers,
was £7,654 i6s. 2d. The Society not only receives the subscriptions
sent in by its printed schedule, but it collects the annual subscriptions
towards the funds of 23 societies. The total amount received and
collected since the commencement of the agency in 1885 was i86,68o.

^28th Annual Report of the C. O. S. of Glasgow, 1902, p. 13.

Edinburgh Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, 34th Annual
Report, 1901 ; 35th Report, 1902, 13th Annual Report of the Motherwell C. O. S.,
1902. Dundee C. O. S., 17th Annual Report, 1902, and 15th Report, 1900. 23rd
and 24th Annual Reports of the Paisley Association for Improving the Condition
of the Poor, 1902, 1903. Association for the Improvement of the Condition of
the Poor in Leith, Rep. 1902, and constitution, by-laws and directory for visitors,
1899. This latter contains a list of charities in Edinburgh and Leith.



The system has been carried on successfully in Liverpool for years,
and the last year reported the sum collected there was £30,310.

F. Indoor Relief, Poorhouses. — "For the care of the aged and
other friendless impotent poor, and also for providing for poor persons
who from weakness or facility of mind, or by reason of dissipated
and improvident habits, are unable or unfit to take charge of their own
affairs, it is expedient that poorhouses should be erected in populous
parishes." (The Poor Law of Scotland, Act 1845). This "senti-
mental" preamble has been interpreted by courts and practice to in-
clude all sorts of poor whom the authorities think best to send to a

This brings us to the British "poorhouse test," on which the Board
said in a circular of October, 1895 :^ "The necessity of a test, in
certain cases at least, is now generally acknowledged, and the only
practically effective test that can be applied is the offer of indoor
relief.^ While outdoor relief is and has been the rule in Scotland,
prolonged experience satisfied the bodies to whom the administration
of the poor law was entrusted that, without the right to use a poor-
house, they were powerless to check the growth of pauperism. . . .
The inmates of a poorhouse may be broadly divided into two classes :
(i) the test class; (2) the aged, the sick and the infirm. It is ob-
vious that the treatment of the two classes should be conducted on
widely different principles. As regards the first class, strict disci~
pline and deterrent administration are needed to make the test effective
and to secure order and decent conduct. As regards the second, the
poorhouse should be looked upon rather as a house of refuge for the
destitute, and the inmates should receive liberal and sympathetic treat-
ment." It may be permissible for a foreigner who has observed at
home the failure of the attempt to unite under one administration and
in one community these two antagonistic aims, to question the wisdom
of using a poorhouse as a "test" in any country.- Recent Scottish
testimony throws some light on the efficiency of the famous "test" :
"Experience shows that the number of applicants who will accept the
offer of indoor relief is increasing, and the majority who enter the

^ Graham, p. 188.

' Compare the chapter on the German and the different principle of the test
of personal acquaintance of an "Armenpfleger."

' See for details of administration : Rules and Regulations for the Manage-
ment of Poorhouses, by Board of Supervision, 1892.


poorhouses are so affected by disease as to render the application of a
strict and deterrent treatment impracticable."^

Two or more parishes may unite to erect and maintain a poor-
house for their common use on such terms as their Councils may agree
to accept ; but a parish cannot withdraw from such an agreement
without obtaining the consent of the Board.

Plans for building a new poorhouse or for altering an old one,
or for borrowing money, or making assessments for such purpose,
must be approved by the Board. Regulations drawn up for the
house by the parish council must be approved by the Board ; and as
this body is a part of the government its policy, if thought too harsh
or severe, may be challenged in Parliament.

In 1902 there were 66 poorhouses in operation in Scotland with
accommodations for 15,700 persons, in a population of 4,430,650.
The total population of the parishes to which poorhouse accommoda-
tion was still not available was 41,452. The number of applicants
who were refused relief by parish councils during the year ending
Alay 15th, 1902, was 2,667. The number of applicants for parochial
aid who were offered relief in the poorhouse only, who declined to
accept that offer, and who thus did not become chargeable to the
poor's fund, was 6,120. The number of applications complaining
of inadequate relief between ist of January to 31st December, 1902,
was 114.'

The management of the poorhouse is under the control of a
House-Governor, assisted by a matron, subject to the orders of a com-
mittee of the parochial board of the parish to which the poorhouse
belongs. This committee is required to visit the establishment, at-
tend to repairs and supplies, and, in general, to be responsible for the
proper conduct of affairs in the house.

Admission and Discharge. — Inmates are admitted on an order
of an inspector of the poor or by a parochial board, accompanied by
the certificate of a medical officer in regular form. Upon entrance
the pauper is thoroughly cleansed, his clothes are taken away for wash-
ing, and he is clothed in the poorhouse dress. He is also searched
and prohibited articles are taken from him. Inmates are discharged
simply upon giving notice of twenty-four hours to the House-

^ Eighth Annual Report of the Local Government Board (Scotland), 1902, p. 2.
' Eighth Annual Report of the Local Government Board of Scotland.



Governor, but if he returns again it must be on the terms of original
admission. The rules speak of frequent abuses of such easy dis-
charge, but the law seems to give no way to correct them.

Classification of Inmates. — The inmates are divided, as far as

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 27 of 73)