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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or surgeon of not less than 13 years' standing, to be united with the
above officers in executing the Act. The Board may appoint in-
spectors, physicians or surgeons of not less than 7 years' standing.
Medical commissioners and inspectors are prohibited from practicing
professionally. The inspector is entitled to attend meetings of boards
of guardians, and all meetings held for the relief of the poor; he
may take part in proceedings, but cannot vote.

For purposes of local administration of poor-relief Ireland com-
prises 163 unions made up of 3,438 electoral districts from which
guardians are sent to the board of guardians. Under the local gov-
ernment act of 1898 the franchise is made universal for local matters,
even including women. This broadening of the franchise has been
an advantage to all local administrative affairs including poor-relief.
Guardians are elected every three years. None may be clergymen.
The number and qualifications are decided by the Board of Commis-



sioners. The number ranges from i6 to 24. Their functions are
to provide revenue for erecting workhouses, sustaining the poor of
their union, and seeing that the various poor agencies work effi-
ciently. ReHef officers may be provided by the commissioners to
assist in the administration of reHef.^ Also medical officers for relief
outside of workhouses may be appointed when necessary or expedi-

Outdoor Relief. — The extent of outdoor relief is expressed in
these figures. Daily average for 1901 (excluding boarded-out chil-
dren) was 55,587, a decrease of over 500 as compared with 1900.
Total expenditure for this relief was £966,830, an increase of £28,317
over 1900. This is more than one-half the total number of persons
relieved and of amount expended in the island. Outdoor relief has
been imperatively needed at times in Ireland on account of recurring
famines. While there has been a diminution in frequency and viru-
lence of famines due to better agriculture and dependence on other
produce than the potato, there has been a tendency to undue increase
in outdoor relief. In 1856 its expenditure stood £2,246; in 1876,
a normal year, at £97,403; in 1880, at £153,586; in 1901, as given
above, £966,830. Seemingly without reason it spreads to districts
which have long existed without it. This may be due to the yielding
of boards of guardians to the antagonism of Irish poor to the work-
house system. They have a great repugnance to entering these insti-
tutions. Too often they prefer to die in their cabins of destitution
rather than enter a workhouse for life.

C. Private Charity. — Various agencies for purposes of pri-
vate charity exist, although no full reports are obtainable as to scope
and strength of the various associations. Some of the principal insti-
tutions are the following: "The Society for the Relief of Sick,
Indigent Room-Keepers of all Religious Persuasions." Since its
inception up to December 31, 1890, it has relieved over 2,500,000
sick and distressed room-keepers. During the year ending with De-
cember 31, 1890, it relieved 38,476. It is supported by donations,
subscriptions and bequests. A person may receive aid whose appli-
cation therefor is signed by a yearly subscriber of over 8s. Clergy-

^ There is a relieving officer connected with each workhouse who investigates
cases arising, and if they are meritorious he issues relief certificates to the
master in charge of the workhouse. Relieving officers look after outdoor cases,
investigate, relieve emergency cases, and report later to the guardians.


men and physicians may recommend without subscribing. It op-
erates in Dublin. "The Society of St. Vincent de Paul" was estab-
lished in 1845 for the relief of the poor without distinction of religion
and they are visited at their homes by the members of the society.
Both sustenance and administration are voluntary. It has over 140
branches in the various cities and towns of Ireland. The following
establishments are for specific purposes : "Dublin Typographical
Fund," "Protestant Shoemakers' Charitable Society," "Medical
Benevolent Fund Society of Ireland," "Apothecaries' Benevolent
Society," "Dublin Midnight Mission and Female Refuge," giv-
ing immediate refuge to personal applications from outcast women ;
"Catholic Boys' Home," which gives food and lodging for the night
to outcast boys.

The frequent potato famines in the island have elicited much out-
side aid from the English-speaking world. Thus pursuant to appeals
for relief by the Duchess of Marlborough, Parnell and others in
1879, Canada, Australia, India, the United States and England sup-
plied relief funds during 1880 amounting to several hundred thou-
sand pounds.

F. Indoor Relief. — Public indoor relief in Ireland is under
the jurisdiction of the various unions. The Local Government
Board has general supervision. In conjunction with the latter the
unions establish the various workhouses, workhouse schools, hos-
pitals, etc., in their territories. When established they superintend
the administration of relief in the institutions. The largest agency
for indoor relief is the workhouse. Each union or association of
unions may support one. Twelve acres of land may be bought or
rented for the location. The funds may be raised by poor-rate or
borrowed on the future poor-rate. The aged poor, the infirm, the
dependent defectives and other dependent poor are given admittance.
Those living in a union have precedence in case of crowded condi-
tions. Inmates from the various electoral divisions of a union are
charged to their respective divisions. Others are charged to the
whole union. In connection with each workhouse are the master
and matron who directly control it and the relieving officer who inves-
tigates and certificates individual applicants.^ Those receiving in-
door relief in 1900-01 were as follows : Average daily number in
workhouses, 40,153; in hospitals, institutions and district schools,

^ For hospitals and schools see Medical Relief and Care of Children.



1,443 J percentage in population, .92. The maximum number in
workhouses was, February 16, 1901, 43,827; the minimum number
in workhouses, September i, 1900, 37,304. Night lodgers or casuals
in workhouses averaged monthly from April i, 1900, to September
30, 1901, 2,969. From October i, 1900 to March 31, 1901, 3,378.
The weekly average for the same year was 486.9.

Poorhoiise as a Test. — In the report of the Irish Poor Law Com-
missioners for 1869 it is said : "The system of workhouse relief, the
ordinary form of relief in Ireland, tends to diminish mendicancy and
vagrancy, inasmuch as persons so relieved have all their wants sup-
plied, and cannot go abroad begging. Outdoor relief, on the other
hand, fails to supply all the wants of the recipients, and a large num-
ber of them, therefore, being at liberty to go where they please, natur-
ally supplement their means of livelihood by wandering abroad and
begging. "1

G. Vagrants, etc. — There are sufficiently stringent laws en-
acted against vagrancy, begging and inducing children to beg or
wander. Such a law was passed in 1847. Persons convicted are
liable to hard labor for one month. It is possible to deal with those
persons in rural regions where they soon become known. But they
are not interfered with there. In the cities they are arrested only
upon persisting in begging when warned by the police. The police
visit the workhouses in the morning to see if any among the "casuals"
are criminals wanted. These workhouses afford night lodgings and
so provide transient homes for the homeless. It is reported that
efforts are made to convert beggars and tramps to self-support by
the discipline of the workhouse and gaol, by stimulating, while resi-
dents of either, feelings of self-respect, religion, and independence.
There are no statistics on the subject, but it is officially reported that
only a small portion of professional tramps and beggars are taken

Aid to Emigration. — No direct effort has ever been made by
Great Britain to colonize the Irish poor. However, this was sug-
gested by a poor-relief commission in 1830, but it was not enacted
in legislation. But the policy of aiding emigration to her colonies
has prevailed. Since 1843 persons in workhouses for three months
might be assisted to emigrate. In 1847 the time limit was reduced.
The fund was not to be considered relief. Since 1849, 5»799 "^s"»
^ R. P. Lamond, The Scottish Poor Laws, p. 125.


20,851 women and 17,991 children under 15 have been deported at
a total expense of £161,238. The largest number sent out was in
1852, when 4,336 went out. The general average has decreased year
by year. Since 1895 the yearly number has been less than 100. The
year ending March 31, 1901, only 46 were deported.

Voluntary and independent emigration has depopulated Ireland.
In 1840 it had a population of about 9,000,000. To-day there are
less than 4,500,000 inhabitants. The United States of America have
more Irish-born inhabitants than has Ireland.

H. Medical Relief. — As early as 1836 there was a commission
appointed which looked into the matter of care of the sick poor.
The system was considered inefficient. In 1842 an effort was made
to get the system reformed. A reform law was passed in 1852 which
provided for a medical commissioner, to be a physician or surgeon
of at least 13 years' standing, and who must not practice his profes-
sion while in office ; for medical inspectors to be appointed by the
commissioners and who must be physicans or surgeons of at least 7
years' standing and must refrain from professional practice. It also
provided that when needed the guardians shall divide a union into
dispensary districts, appoint dispensary committees, provide build-
ings, necessary medicines and appliances. A committee of manage-
ment appoints one or more medical men for advice and care of the
poor. The latter vaccinate applicants. All dispensary relief of the
district is given in the institution. In 1891 there were 747 such dis-
tricts, 1,196 dispensaries or dispensary stations, 811 medical officers,
47 apothecaries or pharmaceutical chemists, 508 midwives and an
annual expenditure of £173,582.

Nursing. — That part of the care of the sick which involves nurs-
ing is done in workhouse infirmaries and hospitals. Sick relief is
in a transition state with reference to the qualification of nurses.
Many boards of guardians cling to old ideas, but there is great ad-
vance. A general order of 1895 created the office of nurse of the
workhouse. In 1897 another order forbade the employment of pau-
pers as nurses and authorized medical officers to procure nurses in
emergencies. Objections arose among guardians to temporary
nurses, hence a general order of 1901 empowered the guardians of
any workhouse to increase the nurses and medical staff when nec-
essary. At present the majority of nurses receive only such instruc-
tion for training as the medical officers will give them. Since the


Local Government Act of 1898 it has been the practice to recommend
only trained nurses. The training of nurses in the larger poor law
infirmaries and hospitals in which facilities for instruction exist is
encouraged. The Belfast workhouse Infirmary and Fever Hospital
is such an establishment. There are 159 union infirmaries. Includ-
ing fever and auxiliary hospitals there are 320 hospitals of all kinds
managed by poor law guardians. At the beginning of 1901 there
were 18,318 sick besides 3,930 lunatics cared for in workhouse
infirmaries and hospitals. The institutions vary greatly in the num-
ber of inmates. One has 1,976 and another but 13.

As regards vaccination the guardians are charged with the ad-
ministration of the law. Each dispensary medical officer reports
quarterly to the local and central authorities a list of registered births
of children over three months old which are not vaccinated. Reliev-
ing officers look after these cases. In 1901 the Local Government
Board issued strenuous advice to guardians to provide for separate
wards in workhouses and infirmaries for consumptives. Smallpox
has greatly diminished. In 1898 there were no deaths and only two
cases. In 1895 there were 10 deaths and 692 cases. In 1872-3 there
were 677 deaths and 10,317 cases, which was above the average. All
sorts of fevers have been likewise reduced. Outside of scarlet fever
in 1865 there were over 26,000 cases; in 1881, about 10,000; in 1901,
about 2,300. Of scarlet fever there were about 1,600 cases in 1901,
a reduction of over 500 cases as compared with the previous year.
Much typhus fever abounds in Connaught and Western Ulster.
Overcrowding and bad economic and sanitary conditions influence
the prevalence of this disease. Sanitary authorities are being im-
pressed with the importance of using their powers.

Sanitation. — Ireland is provided with sanitary laws sufficient to
cover cases of plague and other contagious diseases as well as to
regulate sanitation. Besides urban districts, it is divided into rural
sanitary districts. Sanitary authorities must secure good water,
sewers, etc. Rural regions may be placed under urban regulations
if necessary. The Local Government Board may make loans to dis-
tricts to provide improved lodgings for the working classes. In
1900-1901 the necessary steps were taken to guard the seaports
against the bubonic plague which appeared in Glasgow. A law of
181 7 provided hospitals for the insane in districts comprising one
or more counties, and these houses were able to contain from 100


to 150 inmates. In 1830 a commission reported that they formed
the best institution in the world for curable insane. However, in-
curables were left to workhouse hospitals and workhouses. A law
of 1843 enabled guardians to transfer insane persons from work-
houses to insane hospitals and maintain them there. In 1901 chronic
lunatics to the number of over 4,000 were scattered about Ireland in
workhouses and district asylums. The first could not properly care
for them, the second were overcrowded. The act of 1898 pro-
vided that this may be remedied by county councils who may build
a separate asylum for chronic lunatics or a new department to an
existing asylum. The initiative rests with the council. The cost
of support rests upon the rate payer. Unions may combine to secure
a workhouse convertible into an asylum, or an adjunct. The opinion
of the Local Government Board is favorable to the segregation of
insane and feeble-minded in separate special institutions. Of lunatics
there are in Ireland of non-epileptic 801 males and 1,197 females; of
epileptics 72 males and 150 females. Of feeble-minded there are non-
epileptic 664 males, 814 females ; epileptics 1 19 males and 1 13 females.
There are of epileptics not mentally affected 316. Figures on lunacy
for all of Ireland show it to be increasing. Between 1851 and 1891
it had trebled. In the same time feeble-mindedness had doubled.
In the latter year in the county of Meath there was one lunatic to
every 177 of the population.

The number of blind is decreasing, but not much faster than the
population. In 185 1 there were 7,587. In 1891 there were 5,341.
The proportion is large because emigration leaves the defectives be-
hind. Forty per cent, are uneducated. Of deaf-mutes there were
in 1891, 3,365, of which 76 per cent, were congenitally defective.
The law of 1843 provides for the support of all blind and deaf indi-
gents under 18 years of age in institutions for the blind and deaf.
The guardians were made responsible for their accommodation and

J. The Insane. — Lunatic asylums are supported wholly out of
the county rates (grand jury cess), but each asylum is under the
administration of a board of governors appointed by the Lord Lieu-
tenant. The kingdom is divided into 22 districts, each with its
asylum. Twelve districts consist of single counties and 10 embrace
two or more counties. They provide for about 8,500 patients. The
Lord Lieutenant appoints the resident and visiting medical officers.


Two inspectors enforce the regulations made by the Lord Lieuten-
ant in council for the administration of the asylums. They also per-
form the work of inspection. The number of inmates has increased
in late years, a fact due, not to the increase of lunatics, but to the fact
that they are now more frequently submitted to medical treatment.
Total number in 1870, 10,257; in 1879, 12,819. In the latter year in
district asylums were 8,490 ; in workhouses, 3,491 ; in private asylums,.
651 ; in Dundorm Asylum, 187.

K. Children. — As early as 1715 the law provided for appren-
ticing male and female children who were found begging, or other
poor children, with the consent of their parents, and for their super-
vision by justices of the peace. In 1735 it was enacted that all found-
lings left on the parishes should be kept and taught a trade or calling
until 21 years of age in the workhouse. In 1771-2 a distinction was
made between vagrants and foundlings. A foundling hospital was
provided in Dublin in which all foundlings under 6 were to be kept
or from which they were to be sent to nurse. Such large numbers
appeared that the age limit was placed at three years. In 1772-74 a
law provided that each parish outside of Dublin and Cork should pro-
vide for the support of its foundlings by a special levy and for their
education, the levy not to exceed £5 per child. In 1830 there were
two large foundling hospitals at Cork and Dublin and one small one
at Galway. The one at Dublin was to cease operation. The one
at Cork still had 1,329 on its books.

In 1847 it was provided that unions might be grouped into dis-
tricts to maintain a "district school" for the "joint reception, main-
tenance and education" of the children of the unions. Workhouse
children under 15 may attend them. They are controlled by the
guardians. The law of 1843 made it possible to send deaf and
dumb or blind children under 18 to a special institution for defective
persons. The number of district school children in 1901 was 530.
The method of caring for children most admired and stimulated now
by relief authorities is that of boarding out. It is reported to be
the most satisfactory. In 1901 these children numbered 2,755 as
against 2,604 of the previous year. The act of 1898 makes it a duty
of the guardians to appoint a committee of ladies, not necessarily
guardians, to visit boarded-out children. They report to the guard-
ians. The committees with the names of the children under their
jurisdiction are reported to the Local Government Board. It is


testified that the children as a rule become part of the family to which
they are sent. The age was advanced to 13 years to encourage the
system. The failure of the intelligent citizens to take part in the work
of supervision led to the constitution of the above board.

L. Youth. Youthful criminals in Ireland are sent to reform
schools. In these schools they are all alike instructed in some trade or
craft. They are maintained by imperial grants, local taxes, capitation
payments made by capable parents of inmates, and produce of the
labor of the inmates. In 1890 there were four such schools for boys,
one of which was Protestant with 10 inmates, and three Roman Cath-
olic, with 104 inmates.

For the superintendence and training of the indigent young who
have not sunk so low as to require a sentence of penal labor or con-
finement industrial schools have been established. They are sup-
ported in the same way as the Reform Schools. The inmates are
instructed in the trade or service for which they appear most adapted.
The attempt is made to equip them for self-support. The law estab-
lishing such schools was passed in 1868. The number of schools hav-
ing certificates on December 31, 1889, was 70; 11 for Protestants and
59 for Roman Catholics, 21 for boys, 48 for girls and one mixed for
young boys and girls. The number of inmates were 7,574. The
average net cost per head was ii8 4s. 4d.

In 1898 various schools were provided for pauper children. In
1900 orders were issued that the following were ready for occupancy :
Cripples' workshop. Borough Polytechnic Institute, London, i child
in 1901 ; Protestant Home, West House, Galway, 50 children in 1901 ;
"Meath" Protestant Industrial School, Dublin, 126 children, 1901.

M. Preventive. — Social legislation has not been developed in
Ireland. Whatever the government does for its people is done in
line with its economic needs. Not being an industrial society Ireland
has little needed the legislation suitable for such societies. It is
essentially an agricultural community, as may be judged from data
of distribution of inhabitants. In 1891, 17.9 per cent, lived in towns
of 10,000 and over, 26.4 per cent, in incorporated towns of 2,000 and
over. But much of the population of the smaller towns is directly
agricultural. Manufacturing is limited to the larger cities, such as
Belfast and Dublin, and does not dominate other interests even there.
Labor has not largely organized to make itself felt. In 1890 Trade
Unions claimed 40,000 members, chiefly in Cork and Dublin.



Education in Ireland was undertaken by the government authori-
ties in order to lessen crime and pauperism, and a school system was
established under a royal board of commissioners. The state bears
about 94 per cent, of the expenditures. Model schools to the number
of 30 with 9,615 students in training for teaching were supported in
1899. Students of normal schools use them. The state aids one
national and four denominational normal schools. Provision for
agricultural training is made. Instruction in the theory of agricul-
ture is compulsory in all rural schools for boys in the 4th, 5th and
6th classes, and optional for girls. Two male agricultural schools
are maintained, and in 1897 there were reported 38 school farms in
connection w^th elementary schools and 116 schools with school
gardens attached. Technical instruction is just being developed.
The Technical Instruction Act of 1899 provided $1,000,000 per year
for such instruction. Technical schools are being established
throughout the country in urban districts and in many counties itiner-
ant instructors on agricultural subjects are employed in connection
with experiment plots. The department under which technical and
agricultural education is conducted is akin to the United States De-
partment of Agriculture. It helps only the localities which help
themselves. Yet in 1902 only two counties had not responded.
School attendance in Ireland is legally compulsory but the enroll-
ment is only 60 per cent. Connaught County has 27 per cent., Gal-
way County 34.1 per cent, of illiteracy.

Land Purchase. — Acute observers ascribe Ireland's poor condition
chiefly to the fact that the inhabitants have had no secure interests
to impel to ambitious endeavor. Under the old land tenure system
there has been a year to year tenancy. It has been the practice of
landlords to exact a higher rent in every case where a tenant by
building, draining, clearing or fencing had added value to the hold-
ing. He was taxed for his own improvements. It was therefore
his interest to leave the farm as near a wilderness as was possible
to secure a living at all. Gradually the government has legislated to
change these conditions. Its various Land Purchase Acts aimed to
do so. Beginning with 1869 a series of such acts induced larger and
larger numbers of tenants to become owners of small properties.
Under the acts of 1891 and 1896, 37,000 tenants purchased. After
due investigation of the results of previous acts the Wyndham Land
Act was passed in 1903 under which the whole of Ireland has been


made available for purchase. The commission reported that men
improve their land first and when that is secure then their houses
and yards. They have ceased to sublet and refused to sell. Intem-
perance was decreased in land-purchase districts one-third. Rebel-
lion and disorder gave place to cooperation and order. The recent
bill enables a purchaser to repay the government in about 68 years
by paying about 3^ per cent, on the purchase per year, which is less
than rent paid to landlords.

Dwellings. — The Labourers' Dwellings Act provided for the
rental of cottages and 3/4 to i acre plots of land for gardens to labor-

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 30 of 73)