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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possible, into three classes: (i) Males above the age of 15 years;
(2) boys above the age of 2 years, and under that of 15 years; (3)
females above the age of 15 years; (4) females above the age of 2
years and under that of 15 years; (5) children under 2 years of age.
Separate yard and apartments are assigned to each class, without

Nursing the Sick in Poorhouses, — The old practice still prevails
in some parts of Scotland of having pauper nurses for sick paupers,
and there are difficulties in the way of prohibiting the 'practice. "In
the smaller poorhouses the number of sick is too small to occupy the
time of even one nurse, and the work is too monotonous and unin-
teresting to attract capable and ambitious women." It has been
suggested that acute cases be sent to some hospital, or that visiting
nurses be employed to visit inmates of poorhouses, as these nurses
are now available in almost every part of Scotland. In some large
places the poorhouse has a lady superintendent or head nurse ; in
other places there is a matron who is a trained nurse and has nurses
under her ; and in some places nurses are under the direction of the
matron. The evil of placing paupers under unskilled persons is
recognized, but has not everywhere been corrected.

Religious Instruction. — The rules require that a Protestant Chap-
lain be appointed in every poorhouse to conduct services, give lectures
or sermons, visit the sick, teach the children, and promote peace, order,
obedience, and observance of the rules of the house. All inmates,
unless excused for cause, are required to attend services on Sunday.
A Catholic Chaplain may be appointed by the local authorities.

Discipline. — Disorderly and refractory inmates are punished by
reduction of diet or by solitary confinement, within limits prescribed
by the medical officer. Children under 15 years of age may be cor-
rected with a rod.

G. Homeless People. — Vagrants and Beggars. — A constable is
empowered to bring before the magistrate all beggars, vagrants, and
idle poor persons strolling, or wandering, or seeking relief, or found
lying in any outhouse, stair, close, or area, or other place. The person



is sent to the inspector of the poor, who is required to dispose of him
according to law and report to the magistrate.^

Emergency Help for the Unemployed. — In December, 1878, the
Central Board of Scotland published a minute in view of a temporary
though urgent demand for help for unemployed men and women.
They reminded the public that the Scottish Poor Law does not permit
parochial authorities to give relief to able bodied persons, even when
they are destitute, and that such relief must be provided by private
organizations. "The legislature has entrusted the safety of these
persons to the voluntary benevolence of the public, and that trust has
never yet been found to have been misplaced." One hint, however,
they give to local authorities, which afforded a little room for dis-
cretion : "It is obvious that if a person is really destitute, no long
period would elapse before he also become disabled for want of food.
It would probably be a safe rule of practice in such cases to afiford
immediate relief, if the inspector is of opinion that the sheriff on
appeal would order it." The Board also urges the local authorities
to make the investigations for the voluntary emergency relief asso-
ciations, at the cost of these associations, and they recommend to the
public that such emergency relief be carefully administered in accord-
ance with certain principles : There should be in every case a strict
inquiry into the previous history and present circumstances of all
applicants. No person who is on strike, or who declines to accept
employment at wages sufficient to maintain him, should be admitted
to participation. No person who is already receiving public relief
or private charity should be admitted. Labor should be required in
return for aid given. If employment cannot be found then a work
test should be applied. Relief should be given in rations, coal, etc.,
never in money. If a man claims that he is physically unable to work,
he should be examined by a physician.^

Lamond urged that the parish councils be permitted to give tem-
porary emergency relief ; that this help be restricted to a few months
at work ; that it should not make the recipient a pauper, as permanent
relief does, depriving him of the suffrage; that the sum should be

^The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1892 ("55 and 56 Victoria, ch. 55), in
Graham, at p. 440. — Minutes of Evidence taken before the Departmental Com-
mittee on Habitual Offenders, Vagrants, Beggars, etc., Edinburgh, 1895.

' Rules, Instructions and Recommendations of the Local Government Board
(1897) p. 95-



regarded as a loan to be repayed ; and that the Central Board should
not be asked for its judgment in such a situation.^ His argument
sounds like one for some form of insurance against unemployment.
"The struggle for existence is year by year becoming more intense.

Multiplication of the people proceeds with rapid strides These

must be fed. Their numbers press against each other, and wages are
beat down. The greater use of machinery more and more super-
sedes hand labor. The facilities of production quickly accumulate

stocks and glut markets The seasons of activity are shorter than

those of dullness Not fewer than one-third of our able-bodied

workers are always out of employment." And the remedy (?) exten-
sion of poor relief to an army of self-respecting wage-earners !

In Scotland, as elsewhere, the sad necessity is recognized of pro-
viding asylums for erring girls and fallen women, and the direc-
tories of urban charities give the names of numerous institutions for
this class. ^

H. Medical Relief. — Parish councils are authorized to appoint
a competent medical man to attend to the sick in poor houses and med-
icines are to be supplied by the parish council. Parish councils are
also empowered and required, out of the funds raised for the relief of
the poor, to provide for medicines, medical attendance, nutritious diet,
cordials, and clothing for the poor. The most general method is to
appoint a physician at a fixed salary to attend to the poor of the par-
ish.^ The receipt of medical relief does not disqualify electors from
voting, and this is not true of other kind of relief.

Vaccination. — By the Act of July 28th, 1863, provision was made
for the vaccination of the poor. The parish council is required to see
that vaccination is carried out by a proper medical officer. This is not
deemed parochial relief and does not pauperize. The parents or
guardians of children are required to have them vaccinated. All
persons vaccinated are registered.

The Local Government Board in 1902 took action looking to the
bacteriological examination of rats which were suspected of com-
municating the plague, and to measures fo^ destroying them in ports
and ships. They also gave attention to methods of dealing with

'Scottish Poor Laws, p. 259.

' List of Benevolent Institutions, Edinburgh and Leith.

^Graham, p. 195. — Rules, Instructions and Recommendations of the Local
Government Board for Scotland (1897), p. 102; 169 (on vaccination).


quarantine, medical inspection of vessels, and the disinfection of
goods imported from suspected ports. They urge local authorities
to perform their statutory duty in seeking to diminish consumption,
by preventing overcrowding, by improving ventilation, by the removal
of general insanitary conditions in the houses of the working classes,
and by guarding the health of cows. They advise local health
authorities that they have legal power to diffuse among the people
scientific information in respect to disease. They urge that local
hospitals be prepared at any time to receive persons suffering from
diphtheria, to have a fresh supply of anti-toxin for use, and all the
facilities for diet and nursing.

In general the Board has very great power to advise and direct
action in respect to public health, and thus, indirectly, to diminish
the causes of pauperism which arise from disease and from depressing
conditions. The Board of Local Government is using its powers to
resist the spread of tuberculosis in poorhouses. The persons affected
are isolated in special wards or separate buildings, or by the use of
separate feeding utensils, disinfection of clothing, etc.

The general government grant for medical relief is conditioned
on the establishment of a claim by the parish council, and this condi-
tion brings this branch of local charity under central control. In the
year 1902 the number of parishes complying with legal requirements
was 795, and the total amount distributed was £19,976 5s. 7d., which
included £3,368 12s. id. for trained sick nursing in poorhouses. The
whole sum expended on medical relief to the poor in all parishes in
Scotland, during the year ending May 15th, 1902, was £56,742, which
w^as equal to 3d. per head of the estimated population, and lis. 3d. per
head of persons on the roll of paupers on May 15th.

In the directories of charity for the cities one finds a descriptive
list of private hospitals, more or less well endowed, and of various
kinds : general, emergency, accident, children's, women and children,
eye, ear and throat ; for infectious diseases, maternity cases, consump-
tion ; dispensaries, and convalescent homes. There are training
schools for nurses, among which belongs the Queen Victoria's
Jubilee Institute for Nurses which trains and provides nurses for the
sick poor in their own homes. Crippled children, suffering from
hip-joint, spinal, and other diseases, are not forgotten.

There are private asylums for treatment of the intemperate ; one
for "ladies who are addicted to habits of intemperance."


Charity directories show the existence of asylums for the care of
incurable invalids unable to gain a livelihood, those suffering from
cancer, or who have lost their limbs, or who have become totally
blind and helpless.

Inebriates. — The testimony of Professor W, T, Gairdner, M. D.,
LL.D., of the University of Glasgow, may be taken to represent
medical judgments in Scotland : "The failure of our existing sys-
tem demonstrates, and the experience of every medical man confirms
the truth, that the habitual drunkard is in only too many cases
absolutely a slave to his vice ; and therefore he requires to be protected

against it You must have the drunkard under control, and for a

sufficient time It simply lies beyond the scope of medical

experience in this country to say what time would be required to
reform a habitual drunkard, because we have never had the oppor-
tunity of trying; the position now is that when you are called in to
these cases, in a sense you feel paralyzed, you can do nothing."^

Inebriates Act, 1898 (61 and 62 Vict. Ch. 60). — This Act is an
interpretation and extension of the Inebriates Acts of 1879 and 1888,
and provides that habitual drunkards who are convicted of certain
offenses may be detained for a term not exceeding three years in any
state inebriate reformatory or in any certified inebriate reformatory
the managers of which are willing to receive him. The discussions
in charity circles during previous years had brought out with great
clearness and certainty the fact that a habitual drunkard cannot be
cured, in ordinary cases, without compulsory confinement during a
long period. The statute expressly gives power to restrain such
persons of liberty and to require them to work. The term of maxi-
mum sentence is fixed at three years as the time regarded by
medical men as necessary to a cure. Thus the drunkard is distin-
guished from a criminal on the one hand and from the insane on the
other, and a system of treatment is assigned which is thought at once
to protect social order and give the victim of alcoholism the best
chance of restoration to health. Here is a way of escape from the
short sentences to houses of correction which are condemned by the
competent of all civilized lands.

The Inebriates (Scotland) Act of 1888 empowered cities to

* Minutes of evidence, Departmental Committee on Habitual Offenders, etc.,
1894, p. 28. There is a mine of information on this and related subjects in this


maintain inebriate reformatories, and in 1899 Glasgow took steps to
establish for itself such an institution. They purchased a mansion
house at a cost of £7,500 and formally opened it, under license of the
Secretary of Scotland, January 12, 1901. Preference is given in
every case to persons who, while habitual drunkards, are of such
character and disposition that it may reasonably be expected, if cured
of their intemperance, they would be able to take their places in
society as self-supporting citizens. No one known to be a thief or
otherwise criminal is admitted, nor are prostitutes or persons suffering
from communicable diseases. The inmates are required to be indus-
trious, and outdoor work is supplied as far as possible. The institu-
tion is purely an experiment and time has not yet elapsed to ascertain
its value.^

J. Defectives. — Education of Blind and Deaf-Mute Children.
— By an Act of 1890 it was enacted that such children, if their parents
are too poor to provide for them, shall receive suitable elementary
education and industrial training by the school board. The parent of
such child shall not be deprived of any franchise right or privilege on
this account.

Feeble-minded. — The Board of Commissioners in Lunacy has the
power to license charitable institutions for the care and training of
imbecile children, and supported in whole or in part by private

Insane. — An insane person who has become chargeable to a
parish is sent by the parish council within fourteen days to an
asylum or establishment legally authorized to receive lunatic patients.
It is the duty of an inspector of the poor to notify the parish council
and the Board of Lunacy of the presence of any pauper lunatic
ascertained to be in the parish.

A general Board of Commissioners in Lunacy for Scotland has the
superintendence, management, direction, and regulation of all matters
in relation to lunatics, and to public, private, and district asylums,
and has power to grant or refuse licenses to the proprietors of private
asylums, and of renewing, transferring, recalling or suspending such

This Board inspects poorhouses and inquires whether the provis-

* Chisholm, Municipal Enterprises of Glasgow.

^ Graham, o. c, p. 302.

'The Lunacy (Scotland) Act, 1857.


ions of the law relating to lunatics have been carried out, and as to the
dietary, accommodation, and treatment of the lunatics in such poor-

There is a system of eight district asylums, each district having
its own board which is responsible to the General Board of Com-
missioners in Lunacy. Each pauper lunatic is maintained at the cost
of the parish in which he has legal settlement. If the insane person
has property, or relatives legally obliged to maintain him, the asylum
recovers cost from these sources ; if there are no such resources the
person is adjudged a pauper and his parish pays the expenses of
removal, care and maintenance. The Board may move the courts
to appoint an agent to administer the property of an insane person
and see that the income is properly used for his maintenance.

Persons charged with crime and acquitted on the ground of
insanity are kept in custody and sent to such place as the crown may

The Board has power to license lunatic wards of poorhouses for
the reception and detention of such pauper lunatics only who are not
dangerous, and do not require curative treatment.

The Board may grant a license to the occupier of a house to
receive lunatics, not exceding four in number, subject to the rules
and regulations of the Board; and, in 1895, the Board issued a book
of "Instructions to Inspectors of Poor" for their guidance in the
disposal and management of pauper lunatics. This legislation is the
basis of the famous Scotch system of family care of the harmless

On January i, 1901, there were 2,793 patients in private dwel-
lings in Scotland, of whom 1,1 ii were men and 1,682 were women.
The total number of insane in Scotland at the same date was 15,899
(Forty-third Report of Commissioners in Lunacy). Miss Julia C.
Lathrop, an American observer, visited some of these families in
Lanashshire in 1898 and described the conditions. The housing was
simple, frequently only a kitchen and parlor, with a double box-bed
in each and a narrow passage between. The cleanliness was admira-
ble. The cottages were well furnished, and in every instance had a
pleasant air of homely comfort, and contentment was general. Dur-
ing forty-three years in which this system has been in operation
there has been only one serious assault committed by a boarded-out
patient. The freedom from irksome discipline, and the social advan-



tage of mixing with some people of their own rank in Hfe and on a
footing of equality, has a beneficial effect. The patients are carefully
selected, and not more than 20 per cent, at most can be dealt with in
this way.'

It is provided (Act of 1866) that all such private houses where
insane persons are boarded shall be visitod and inspected by medical
men who report to the Board. Each such boarder must be visited
at least once every three months by a medical man, and by the
inspector of the poor at least twice a year.^

If a county or parish has provided accommodations for their
own pauper lunatics satisfactory to the Board of Commissioners in
Lunacy they are relieved from assessments for furnishing an asylum
for the district, so far as the Board deems reasonable.

Lunatics are received into an asylum on the order of a sheriff in
response to the petition of some citizen, with the certificate of two
medical persons. In case of emergency the superintendent of an
asylum may receive a person on the certificate of one medical person,
but only for three days.

Pauper lunatics may be discharged on probation, but they remain
subject to the inspection of the Commissioners until finally released
by them from supervision.

K-L. Children and Youth. — Children in Poorhouses and the
Boarding-Out System. — The world movement to remove all children
from poorhouses has not yet been fully accepted for Scotland, although
great advances have been made in that direction. Many children are
still found in these establishments, and enlightened persons hope that
the system of boarding out dependent children will before long remove
all children from such unfavorable surroundings. The system has
obtained in Scotland for a century and its value is beyond dispute. In
its better form of administration orphans and deserted children are
removed to a distance from the situation in cities which menaced their
health and morality; they are boarded with respectable crofters and
cottagers in the country ; they are regularly visited by committees, who
see to their food, clothing, education, and religious training. They
are finally absorbed into the community of self-respecting workers.
Sir John McNeill said: "They grow up with the family; they are

* National Conference of Charities and Correction, 1902, p. 191.

* Graham, p. 319.


treated as members of the family; they acquire the habits and feel-
ings of the persons amongst whom they are brought up ; they see the
struggles of the family to maintain their own independence; they,
acquire a sort of domestic attachment to the father and mother, or
to the old woman with whom they are boarding, and they are well
educated, and ultimately they melt into the population."^

The Central Board has expressed this estimate of the system :
"The administration of Parochial Relief to pauper children by board-
ing them with respectable families in rural districts continues to be
satisfactorily conducted."^ The total number chargeable May 15,
1893, was 5,545, of whom 4,629 were boarded out (1,822 with rela-
tives and 2,807 with strangers). At the same date in 1902 the total
number chargeable was 6,693, of whom 5,721 were boarded out ( 1,798
with relatives, and 3,923 with strangers).

In 1 869- 1 870 the English Poor Law authorities^ appointed an ex-
pert committee to investigate the Scottish system of boarding-out
pauper children and to recommend any part of it which seemed
suited to English conditions. At that time Mr. Henley said that the
poorhouses were not giving suitable care to children, and in many
instances they were not separated from the older paupers. His con-
clusions were : That the system, as conducted by the large city
parochial boards generally, tends to improve the children physically
and mentally, and effectually breaks their connection with the poor-
house ; that, if properly carried out, it is preferable to the present sys-
tem of the poorhouse provision for children in Scotland ; that the
condition of some children who are boarded in the towns is unsatis-
factory, principally owing to the places in which they are lodged ; that
the official supervision of children belonging to certain parishes be-
yond the legal radius of their own inspectors is insufficient ; that the
separation of the sexes in the sleeping rooms is rarely attempted, be-
ing treated as unimportant when the children are young, and consid-
ered as members of the family in which they are boarded ; that the
education of the children is carefully atended to ; that the medical
attendance and extras are sufficient ; that the practice of children be-

^ Lamond, p. 265-266.

^Eighth Annual Report of the Local Government Board for Scotland, 1902,
p. xii.

* Report of J. J. Henley, Poor Law Inspector, to the Poor Law Board, on the
boarding out of pauper children in Scotland.


yond infancy sleeping in the same room with married couples is com-
mon and very objectionable.

Mr. Henley recommends that the following classes should under
no circumstances be boarded out : illegitimate children of widows still
living ; other illegitimate children whose mothers are living ; chil-
dren deserted by one parent ; children whose parents are living. De-
serted children should not be boarded out till they have been for some
time in the workhouse. Children should not usually be boarded with
relatives. No child should be boarded with a person who is, or
otherwise would be, in receipt of parochial relief. A child, before
it is boarded out, should be passed by the medical officer, and a cer-
tificate given that it is in a proper state, mentally and bodily, to be
sent out. Not more than two children, except in the case of a family,
should be sent to one house. Brothers and sisters should usually
be kept together. Children should be boarded out as young as pos-
sible. Children should be removed if they are kept away from school,
Sunday school, or church ; if lodgers are put in the same room with
the children ; if children are taken in to board from other unions or
parishes, or from private people. Periodical reports should be se-
cured from school teachers. Children should be visited by a paid offi-
cer every quarter at least, at uncertain periods. The fullest securities
should be taken for a careful selection of nurses, and for their liberal
payment, so as to avoid the employment of the lowest class of persons
who would be willing to undertake the duty.

Many private agencies^ seek to prevent the placing of children
in poorhouses. For example, Stewart Hall, Bute, has accommoda-
tions for 20 children, where weak and tuberculous children can receive
treatment fitting them for being boarded out, which it is practically
impossible they can receive in the aggregation of a children's depart-
ment of a poorhouse.

There are in Scotland, especially in cities, many schools upon
endowed foundations, which provide for the maintenance, education
and training of orphans, half-orphans and other dependent children.
The selection of beneficiaries is generally in the hands of trustees and

^ The industrial schools, privately supported, are mentioned with approval in
the First Annual Report of the Board of Supervision, 1847, pp. xv-xvi ; but the
doubt is there expressed as to the possibility of making adequate provision by
means of private contributions.

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 28 of 73)