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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depends upon the purpose of the founder as expressed in wills and
deeds of gift. One institution at Edinburgh receives 60 boys who are
between the ages of nine and fourteen, educates them, gives them £7
for clothes on leaving, £10 annually during a period of five years in
apprenticeship, and £50 to start in business. Orphans of burgesses
formerly in good circumstances are aided by one school to the extent
of £20 a year. One "hospital," accommodating 250 children, receives
poor children of the name of the founder and others who are destitute ;
and here about half the inmates are deaf mutes. In another "hos-
pital" the preference is given to the sons of respectable but poor
teachers, farmers or mechanics. In Edinburgh also are schools for
the blind, deaf mutes, imbecile children. On private and ecclesias-
tical foundations are industrial and reformatory schools, with one of
which the illustratious name of Dr. Guthrie is connected ; homes and
training institutions for neglected, destitute, or imperilled children and
youth. Both Catholics and Protestants support such institutions.^

Industrial Schools. — Any person may legally bring before two
justices or a magistrate any child apparently under the age of four-
teen years who is found begging or receiving alms (whether actually
or under the pretext of selling or offering for sale any thing), or
being in any street or public place for the purpose of begging or
receiving alms ; or, that is found wandering and not having any home
or settled place of abode, or proper guardianship, or visible means of
subsistence; or, that is found destitute, either being an orphan or
having a surviving parent who is undergoing penal servitude or
imprisonment ; or that frequents the company of reputed thieves.
The justices or magistrate may inquire into the case and, being sat-
isfied that it is expedient to deal with him under this Act, may order
him to be sent to a certified industrial school. The authorities for
the poor may in the same way have a refractory child sent from a
workhouse or a district pauper school to an industrial school. Chil-
dren may be detained in a poorhouse or other place for seven days,
pending inquiry, but not in a prison. Preference is given to an
industrial school under the direction of the religious denomination
in which the child has been reared. Parents are liable to pay the
expense of the child sent to an industrial school, if they are able, not

^ List of Benevolent and Charitable Institutions of Edinburgh and Leith, pub-
lished by Association for the Improvement of the Condition of the Poor, 1899.


to exceed five shillings a week. Dependent children are paid for by
the parish of settlement.^

Pretention of Cruelty to Children.^ — A constable or sherifif who
discovers that a child is being ill-treated may take it to "a place of
safety," which expression includes a workhouse or poorhouse.

M. Preventive Agencies and Methods. — Scotland is closely
related to England in all matters relating to social legislation. Public
schools have even a deeper root in the northern country, and their civ-
ilizing influence is appreciated. The sanitary agencies are unified and
stimulated by the central administration and lend important aid to
the amelioration of conditions in the life of the poor.

There is no present prospect of compulsory government insurance
of workingmen to help them organize thrift and secure protective
indemnity in case of disabling accident, sickness, infirmity and old
age. Mr. Lamond^ gives a sketch of recent proposals for old age
pensions, but only to condemn them. But the matter comes up per-
sistently in charity conferences, and apparently will ultimately have
through consideration.*

In the matter of extending the socialistic or public service activity
by municipalities the Scotch cities are among the foremost in the
world. Retiring pensions are allowed the police, and the principle
underlying state insurance is thereby accepted. In tenement house
reform some of the cities have been pioneers.

The city of Glasgow owns and manages its own street transporta-
tion and gives low fares to workingmen ; it keeps open its markets for
fruit, fish, old clothes, and meat ; it has adopted a liberal policy in
regard to parks and playground ; and makes provision for technical

The system of inspection of houses brings to the authorities a body
of knowledge which guides administration and conveys to the poor
people information which is useful to them. Especially is this true

^Graham, p. 433, gives text of Industrial Schools Act 1866 (29 and 30 Vict.,
eh. 118). Compare the Custody of Children Act 1891 (54 Vict. ch. 3), which
defines the power of courts in relation to the rights of parents to claim custody
of their children.

^Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act 1894 (57 and 58 Vict. ch. 41) ; Graham,
p. 440.

" In his work, "Scottish Poor Laws."

*In the discussions of the International Home Relief Congress, Edinburgh,
1904, all aspects of insurance and pensions were fully treated.


of the women visitors, who carry into the dwelHngs of the poor sug-
gestions as to cleanHness, order and health. In 1892 the visitors of
Glasgow made 75,000 domiciliary visits.'^

Improvements of Dwellings of the Poor. — While the habitations
of the poor in crowded cities have secured the attention of philanthro-
pists, those of the rural poor have required attention of thoughtful
and humane men in Scotland. A statement of the Highland and
Land Law Reform in 1885 presents a picture of a type of dwelling
which seems happily to be passing away. It is a crofter's house in
Lewis. "The west coast crofter has two foes to contend with — the
fierce Atlantic blast, and the drenching winter rains. . . The walls
are built of stones, gathered from the fields, and fitted roughly to-
gether. To keep out the wind they are made five feet thick, and
both side walls and gable ends are but six feet in height. . . . The
houses vary from 30 to 60 feet in length, and are 15 feet wide. You
stoop your head as you enter the only door. If your visit is in
March, the inside level is higher than the surface of the ground, for
you step upon a thick mass of wet cattle-bedding and dung, which
has accumulated since the previous summer. Coming in from the
light of day you stumble in the deep obscurity, which is barely relieved
by the single window of a foot square. . . . Smoke from a peat
fire fills the house and finds partial egress through the thatch, for
there is no chimney. Hens cackle overhead. Cows and calves keep
company with the family."^ The crofters had little encouragement
to build better houses and make improvements, as their tenure was
at the pleasure of the landlords and they were not paid for the better-
ments. While many abuses have been corrected already, the descrip-
tions in state documents reveal a wretchedness and apathy which are
not found in new countries, and which become habitual only when
the outlook for better conditions has been narrowed by long-denied
opportunity to rise.^

Glasgow opened in 1896 "The Family Home" at a cost of £17,609.

^A. Shaw, Municipal Government in Great Britain, p. 87.

^Reports of Her Majesty's Commissioners for inquiring into the Housing of
the Working Classes (Scotland), 1885. — Report from the select committee on
Poor Laws (Scotland), ordered printed July 6, 1869. A. Shaw, Municipal Gov-
ernment in Great Britain, ch. IV, "A Study of Glasgow."

^ Dr. Angus Macaulay, medical officer for Barra, has a similar description of
cottages in 8th Annual Report of the Local Government Board for Scotland,
1903, p. 65 ; and he affirms that such hovels increase tubercular diseases and other


It furnishes accommodations for deserving and respectable widows
or widowers belonging to the working classes having one or more
young children with no one to look after them. The house contains
i6o single bedrooms, plainly furnished, each capable of accommodat-
ing one adult and their children, a common dining-room, a kitchen
with gas fires and steam cooking boilers, a nursery, recreation rooms,
baths, lavatories, and all heated by steam. The rent of a bedroom
varies from 4s. to 5s. per week, and regular meals are furnished at
the lowest possible charge.

Glasgow has also destroyed many old houses and built better in
their places. In all 46 blocks had been rebuilt in 1902, with 200
shops and 1,455 dwelling-houses, with one to three apartments in
each house. In all the lodging houses the Family Home and the
new dwellings 11,875 persons have been provided for.

Another agency of the municipality of Glasgow is of a preventive
character, the Labour Bureau and Servants' Registry, opened in 1896.
There are no fees payable by either the employer or the worker. The
corporation, while accepting no responsibility in connection with ap-
plicants, endeavors to assure itself of the character of those whom it
sends to any situation. In 1900 the Bureau registered 5,224 ap-
plicants and found places for 42.30 per cent, of these, at a cost per
head of the number registered of 9^d.

The water works of Glasgow supply all charitable institutions free
of charge, and also furnish water gratuitously to twelve public baths
and wash-houses in the city belonging to the corporation. The water
department does not charge the corporation for water used for cleans-
ing purposes, watering streets, and flushing sewers. Bath and wash-
houses were first established in 1876.

In 1866^ the city of Glasgow began the policy of taking posses-
sion of common lodging houses, conducted by private enterprise,
where men and women were huddled together promiscuously, in
dark and unventilated rooms, without any of the conveniences requi-

pauperizing maladies. On p. 66 is a cheering report of improvement in Harris,
by J. Wedderspoon, Sanitary Inspector of Inverness.

* Municipal Enterprises of Glasgow, by Samuel Chisholm. — Abstract of the
Account of the Revenue and Expenditure and Stock account of the corporation
acting under the Glasgow Public Parks Acts, May, 1901, and other reports on
water-works. Improvements Acts, 1866-1895, of same date. — Notes on Municipal
Work, 1896-99, by David Richmond, Corporation of the City of Glasgow, 1899.



site for decent living, not to speak of healthful existence. These
houses, besides being hotbeds of vice and misery, were also centers
for the propagation of disease. The authorities constructed and
equipped seven model lodging houses which have served a good pur-
pose and have been financially successful. The houses are provided
with a common dining-room, a kitchen with utensils and fire available
for cooking at any hour of the day, a large recreation room, and ample
lavatory and bathing conveniences. Lodging costs from 3^d. to
6d. per night.

The construction of houses by municipalities or the state is not
universally approved. The Landlords' Association of Glasgow, in
1885, declared that private enterprise would build all the houses that
were required and that interference by the state "is uncalled for and
impolitic." But on one point they declared there was a place for pri-
vate charity and legislative measures. They said that some of the
smaller dwellings were "occupied by l-enants of a lower class, who
are intemperate, filthy, and destructive in their habits. They neither
appreciate cleanliness nor convenience. They are unsettled in their
occupations, and their continued migrations from place to place give
them great facilities for escaping payment of their debts or in imple-
menting their obligations. . . . On this dirty and improvident
class the landlord has little control, and the sanitary authorities do
not seem to care actively to interfere in regulating their conduct."
Two remedial agencies they recommend ; the sanitary missionary with
sufficient intelligence to expound to such tenants the benefits of sani-
tation, and with sufficient power to enforce personal observance of
the regulations formed for their comfort and well-being; and a law
enabling the landlord to remove expeditiously and inexpensively
tenants who can be proved to be a moral and physical nuisance to the
neighborhood. But the letter of the landlord does not give informa-
tion as to the management of such persons after they have been

Pawnbrokers. — A person intending to apply for the first time for
a certificate must give previous notice of twenty-one days to an in-
spector of the poor of the parish in which he intends to carry on busi-
ness, and to the superintendent of police of the district.^

Salvation Army. — The social as well as religious work of this
body is extended to the cities of Scotland. The Salvation Army

^The Pawnbrokers' Act, 1872 (35 and 36 Vict, ch., 93), in Graham at p. 441.


Women's Social Work of Glasgow/ in a report made September 30,
1902, showed that they had received ^879 lis. 6d., of which £99 i8s.
lo^^d. came from gifts; that they had supported inebriate homes for
girls, and had cared for maternity cases. It cost five shillings a week
to maintain a girl in an industrial home. Pay is expected in these
establishments, but there are many charity cases. One pound a week
covers the cost for maternity cases. They had cared for 215 girls
in the year, visited female prisoners, helped them to find shelter and
occupation, and redeemed many from the drink habit. They main-
tain the Metropole, a working women's hotel, where any poor woman
may find asylum and friendly help.

Aid for Discharged Prisoners and Their Families. — Edinburgh
and other places have voluntary asso^^iations for aiding prisoners,
after their discharge from prison, with advice and assistance in pro-
curing honest employment.



A. Causes of Pauperism in General. — Pauperism in Ireland
may be traced to several causes. First, a historical one, namely, the
conquest of Ireland by England and the wholesale confiscation of the
land which was bestowed on absentee landlords. This took away
not only property value from the inhabitants, but along with it hope
and interest in a larger material life. Second, a standing lack of
unity and cooperation necessary to secure reform legislation looking
to better conditions. Religiously Ireland has been divided between
Catholics and Protestants. Socially it has been divided between a
landed aristocracy and a landless peasantry and small shopkeepers,
with no strong middle class so necessary to national progress. As
against Protestant clergy Catholic priests have been powerful with
the masses, the former being merely chaplains of the landed gentry.
The feeling of superiority in the landed gentry is so strong that it
has been their chief grievance under an extension of local government
to be obliged, officially, to stand on an equality with the lower class.
Third, financial depletion by the absentee landlords who spend their

' Report of the Salvation Army Women's Social Work, 1902,


large land incomes outside of Ireland, thus constantly sapping its
resources, and by the British government which has been overtaxing
Ireland at the rate of $14,000,000 per year. Ireland's proportion of
the Imperial tax is 1-20. It has been paying 1-7, or in a half century
has overpaid about $500,000,000. This is the estimate of the Royal
Commission of 1896 appointed to investigate the subject. Fourth,
agricultural and industrial decadence. The production of wheat has
declined since 1850 nearly 80 per cent, and the farm produce nearly
50 per cent. The number of people in textile industries has decreased
from 696,000 in 1841 to 130,000 in 1891. One large reason for agri-
cultural decline has been the policy adhered to for a long time of re-
ducing Ireland to pasturing. The result is seen in the size of hold-
ings. In 1841 holdings of from i to 15 acres comprised over 80 per
cent, of all farms above one acre; in 1850, 50 per cent.; in 1901, 42
per cent. Farms over 30 acres were only 7 per cent, in 1841, 26 per
cent, in 1851, and 32 per cent, in 1900. On the large estates the best
land has been set aside for grazing and the bogs given to the tenants.
Once Ireland was a rival of England in commerce and industry and
had great enterprise. During 250 years England has systematically
legislated against one industry after another and forced the people
into a close dependence upon the soil. Fifth, the drainage of the best
population to foreign countries by emigration, leaving behind those
willing to settle down to a landless and therefore hopeless condition.
Sixth, the overwhelming consumption of liquor. Drunkenness is uni-
versal. Every grocery and drygoods store in the villages has a public
bar at which men and many women drink in the open market. One
town of 1,250 people has 85 public houses. Yet drink is not consid-
ered by the best observers so much an inherent vice as a recourse to
drown the miseries of poverty, and it is already reduced with indus-
trial opportunity and hope and by the earnest efforts of temperance

As a result of the loss of hope, racial, social and religious conflicts,
agricultural and industrial decay, financial depletion, etc., pauperism
has increased notwithstanding a twofold decrease of population dur-
ing the last six decades. In 1864 Ireland had 32 paupers to each
1,000 of population; in 1894 it had 95 to each 1,000. In England
there has been a decrease from 49 to 26 to each 1,000 of the popula-
tion. The total number of paupers in 1902 was 102,771 supported at
an expense of over £1,175,000.



Out of a total tax revenue from Ireland in a recent year of £6,392,-
943, those who drank beer, wine, spirits, tea and smoked tobacco
contributed £4,848,489.

Legislation. — Legislation on poor-relief in Ireland begins with
the act of Irish parliament of 1771, which provided for the erection
of eight houses of industries in Munster and three in Leinster. Eden
(State of the Poor, III, p. cclxxvii) says that there were no
poor laws, only Sunday collections, to which the absentee landlords
contributed little. He speaks of a house of industry at Dublin. Only
about £4,000 per year were raised out of the £14,000 sanctioned. In
1806 and 1818 added authority was given to county authorities. In
1838 it was enacted that paid vice-guardians might execute the laws
on the failure of the local authorities. This came into force In 1840.
In 1847 an Outdoor Relief Act was passed.

In 1856 Nicholls summarized previous legislation as follows :
''Houses of industry and foundling hospitals, supported partly by
public votes, and partly by voluntary contributions, were . . .
established at Dublin and Cork, for the reception and bringing up of
exposed and deserted children, and the confinement of vagrants ; . . .
free schools were directed to be maintained in every diocese, for edu-
cating children of the poor; . . . parishes were required to sup-
port the children exposed and deserted within their limits, and vestries
were organized and overseers appointed to attend to their duty;
. . . hospitals, houses of industry or workhouses, were to be pro-
vided in every county, and county of a city or town ; severe punish-
ments were enacted against idle vagabonds and vagrants ; whilst the
deserving poor were to be lodged and licensed to beg, or if infirm and
helpless were to be maintained in the hospitals or houses of industry,
for the building and upholding of which, however, reliance was chiefly
placed on the charitable aid of the humane and affluent, assessments
for the purpose being limited to £400 in counties at large, and £200
in counties of cities or towns." All of this partakes of the nature
of poor laws, yet no provisions were made to carry them into efifect.
Only a portion of the provisions was imposed. The most was volun-
tary. Various amendments have been made in the poor laws of Ire-
land. These will appear in the various portions of this paper.

Settlement. — There is no specific law of settlement in Ireland.
One was proposed to Parliament in 1838 but voted down. However,
it was necessary to define the terms of the location of the duty to give


relief in terms of electoral divisions of a union. Hence the final
amendment of the law of 1847 reads that no person shall be deemed
resident in an electoral division unless three years before he applies
for relief, he shall have occupied some tenement v^ithin it for three
months, or usually slept within it thirty months.

Class of Indigent With Claims. — Guardians are directed "to
make provision for the due relief of all destitute poor persons dis-
abled by old age or infirmity ; and of destitute poor persons disabled
by sickness or serious accident, and thereby prevented from earning
a subsistence for themselves and their families ; and of destitute poor
widows, having two or more legitimate children dependent upon
them. Such poor persons, being destitute, are to be relieved either
in the worhouse or out of the workhouse as the guardians may deem
expedient ; and the guardians are also to take order for relieving and
setting to work in the workhouse when there shall be sufficient room
for so doing, such other destitute poor persons as they shall deem
to be unable to support." (10 and 11 Vict. Chap. 31, Sect. i).

Law of Outdoor and Indoor Relief. — "Whenever relief cannot be
afforded in the workhouse owing to want of room, or when by reason
of fever or infectious disease the workhouse is unfit for the reception
of poor persons, the Poor Law Commissioners may by order empower
the guardians to administer relief out of the workhouse to such des-
titute poor persons, for any time not exceeding two months ; and on
receipt of such order the guardians are to make provisions accord-
ingly. Relief to able-bodied persons out of the workhouse, is, how-
ever, to be given in food only, and the Commissioners may from time
to time regulate its application." (Ibid., Sections 2, 3),

Relieving officers may not only give orders of admission to work-
houses or fever hospitals of the union for provisional relief, but also
to give temporary relief in food, lodging, medicine, or medical at-
tendance, until the next meeting of the board of guardians. The
funds are furnished the officers by the guardians.

Liabilities. — Relief to wife or child is considered as given to the
husband or parent. Children are liable for relief given to parents.
Husbands are liable for maintenance of wife and her children under
15, legitimate or illegitimate ; also for that of his children, widows for
theirs, mothers for their bastards up to 15 years. Relief may be con-
sidered a loan to be recovered. Persons deserting workhouses, leav-
ing wife or child to be relieved, refusing to work, guilty of drunken-


ness or disobedience in workhouse, or introducing liquors, are liable
to prison and labor for not over one month. Deserters of wife or
children so that they have to be relieved may be sent to a house of
correction for three months with labor.

B. Organization and Administration. — In 1838 Parliament
gave the general oversight and control of Ireland poor-relief into
the hands of the Poor Law Commissioners of England and Wales,
who were declared to be the Poor Law Commissioners for Ireland.
In 1847 Ii"ish poor-relief administration was made separate. A chief
commissioner was appointed, who, along with the chief and under-
secretaries of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, constituted the "Com-
missioners for administering the Laws for Relief of the Poor in
Ireland." This Board may appoint a secretary, inspectors, clerks,
etc. It is empowered to make rules, orders and regulations, to vary
and rescind them, and to make general rules with the approbation of
the lord lieutenant, who has final voice in the matter. Rules, orders,
or regulations affecting more than one union are deemed general. It
may appoint paid officers of unions needed, prescribe qualifications,
define duties and terms of service and fix salaries. It may remove
incompetent officers, dissolve boards of guardians and appoint tem-
porary paid successors. It reports annually to the lord lieutenant,
who lays the report before parliament.

Medical charities were added to the poor law in 1852. The act
provided for the appointment of a medical commissioner, a physician

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 29 of 73)