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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ers at rates hardly sufficient to pay for maintenance and management.
The local government act of 1898 extending the franchise to laborers
stimulated new activities to reap the advantages of this act. Ap-
plications for houses and plots are filed before the cottages are built.
Up to March, 1901, 17,160 houses were authorized, 14,689 were pro-
vided, 14,548 actually let and 498 in progress of contracted for. Fur-
ther improvements were made or about to be made for 7,691 new
cottages with full garden allotments and 3,951 additional 3^-acre
allotments. The Congested District Law was passed in 182 1. It pro-
vided for boards to assist congested districts by advice, removal of
families to other regions, consolidation of small holdings to make
holdings capable of support, the development of coast fisheries, etc.

Sanitation. — About all the sanitary provisions undertaken by the
state have been mentioned. An interesting illustration of the will-
ingness of citizens to cooperate with the government sanitary authori-
ties is seen in the advocacy of pasteurizing milk by managers of
creameries upon evidence found pointing to the close relation be-
tween creameries and enteric fever.

Cooperative Effort. — Unity, cooperation, hope, interest, self-help
are elements Ireland has needed to lift it out of penury. Voluntary
agencies and particularly individuals have wrought much to intro-
duce those elements. The Hon. H. P. Plunkett had been a student
of economics and industrial conditions in modern countries. In 1889
he founded the Irish Agricultural Organization Society for the pur-
pose of introducting the principle of organization and cooperation
among Irish farmers. It has about 500 societies with 50,000 mem-
bers. "The purpose of these societies is the manufacture of butter
on the best and most scientific principle in creameries ; the joint pur-
chase of agricultural requirements and the sale of the produce; the


improvement of live stock and methods of tillage ; the acquisition of
machinery for the joint use of the members ; the development of early
market gardening; the introduction of the continental system of
collecting, grading and packing eggs ; the establishment of experi-
mental farms ; the formation of cooperative rural banks, the promo-
tion of rural industries such as lace making, embroidery and needle-
work." The good results are seen on every hand. The cooperative
creameries now rank with those of Denmark, the best in the world ;
Irish butter was so pronounced in 1901 at the great English Agricul-
tural Show. The agricultural banks are on the plan of Raiffeisen.
They are cooperative, managed by the best local minds and lend for
only productive purposes to approved applicants at from 2 to 6 per
cent, interest instead of, as formerly, at 30 per cent, interest to some
"Sombeen" man or "loan bank." Neither religious nor political dif-
ferences are allowed to enter the cooperative societies. Catholic
priests and Protestant ministers frequently cooperate to form them.
Statistics for cooperative efforts are not published distinct from those
of Great Britain so as to be available.

The Future. — Unquestionably Ireland's future is full of hope.
With ownership, local government and cooperation are being born
new zeal in labor and real ambitions for life which will create a new
Ireland. The Irish race has proved itself peculiarly talented in
homes of its adoption. With opportunity that genius may be ex-
pected to exhibit itself and prove productive for Ireland and the
world. Where they have become property owners the Irish have
become conservative in Ireland instead of continuing radical. Hence
a loyal support of the government. With productive ownership is
coming temperance and diminution of pauperism.



India, in its widest sense, includes British India and the Native
States ; the former is under the direct control in all respects of Brit-
ish officials. The control which the Supreme Government exercises

^ The purpose of introducing a section on the charities of India in connection
with the chapter on English relief systems was to show how the European ideas


over the Native States varies, but they are all governed by native
rulers with the help of a British agent. They are restricted in for-
eign relations and in strength of their military force, and for mis-
government their rulers may be deposed.

The comparative area in square miles shows British India to con-
tain 1,087,249, and the Native States, 679,393, making a total area
of 1,766,642 square miles. The comparative population by the
census of 1901 was British India, 231,899,507, and the Native States,
62,461,549, showing an increase in ten years in India of 7,046,385,
but a decrease in the Native States of 3,613,607.

The administration of the Indian Empire in England is entrusted
to a Secretary of State for India, assisted by a council of not less
than ten members. The supreme executive authority in India is
vested in the Governor-General in Council, often styled the Govern-
ment of India. The work of Governor-General in Council is dis-
tributed among seven departments — Home, Foreign, Finance, Mili-
tary, Public Works, Revenues and Agriculture, Legislative. The
Governor-General's Council becomes a Legislative Council to make
laws for all persons within British India, by adding to the five ordi-
nary members sixteen additional members.

For purposes of administration India is divided into eight great
provinces and a few minor charges as follows : Madras, Bombay,
Bengal, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, The Punjab, Burma,
Assam, the Central Provinces ; the minor charges, Coorg, Ajmer-
Merwara, British Baloochistan and the Andaman Islands. The
provinces enjoy much administrative independence varying with their
importance. The provinces are usually broken up into divisions,
under commissioners, and then divided into districts, which form
the units of administration. At the head of each district is a magis-
trate who has entire control of the district and is responsible to the
Governor of the province. There are about 250 such districts in
British India.

make their way under the peculiar conditions of another civilization. Brief as
this sketch is, it reveals the working of a beneficent force which promises to lift
up millions of the depressed in India. The British people have been aggressive
in commerce and conquest of territory, and no apology is made for some of
their acts ; but their most serious critics must acknowledge that they have made
a noble and humane use of their power in the East. Rev. W. E. Hopkins and Rev.
F. H, Levering have supplied certain data. — C. R. H,


A considerable measure of local self-government obtains in the
municipalities. In 1901 there were 759 municipal towns, with a
population of 16,691,521. The town committees everywhere contain
a majority of natives, and in all the larger and in many smaller towns
the majority of members of committees are elected by the rate-payers.
These bodies have care of roads, water-supply, drains, markets, sani-
tation ; they impose taxes and enact by-laws with sanction of the
Provincial Government. For rural tracts, except in Burma, there
are district and local boards which have charge of roads, district
schools and hospitals.

While India is a land of many races dwelling in a vast area there
is yet a remarkable degree of unity to be seen. Religiously 92 per
cent, are either Hindus or Mohammedans, there being 207,146,422
of the former and 65,458,061 of the latter. The nine million Budd-
hists are mostly in Burma, and the number of Christians is 2,923,241.
There are 94,000 Parsis and over 2,000,000 Sikhs, nearly all in the
Punjab. Five divisions may be made according to language: i)
The Dravidian stock in the South; 2) the Negroid, with the Kolarian
dialects in the hill-tribes of Central India; 3) the Indo-Chinese, on
the south slopes of the Himalayas, in the greater part of Assam and
all Burma; 4) High-caste Hindus, the Aryan race; 5) Moham-
medans — Arab, Afghan, Mughel, Persian.

Three distinctly defined physical regions are recognized, the
mountain districts of the Himalayas, the low plains of the three great
rivers of North India, and the high plateau of the Deccan, extending
from the valley of the Ganges to the south end of the Peninsula.

Into this area equal to Europe without including Russia are
crowded about one-fifth of the population of the earth. Of the 294,-
000,000, 191,692,000 are engaged in agricultural employment and
are thus directly dependent upon the soil for existence. The popu-
lation of British India averages 211 to the square mile, while Oudh,
the N. W. Provinces and Bengal average more than 400 to the
square mile, and in entire India 188, as against 283 (estimated) for
China, and 25.6 (1900) for the United States. In most districts the
population presses closely upon the limits of the means of subsistence.
In many places there has been a very marked increase of population
since the British took possession. As immigration is next to un-
known, the growth of population depends on natural increase.^

"• W. S. Lilly in ''India and Its Problems" quotes Sir Wm. Hunter as saying,



The problem of poverty in India is exceedingly complex. It is
bound up with rehgion more than in any other country. Meteor-
ology is directly related to it. Domestic customs and national traits
are factors in the problem. The Hindus delight to call their land,
"The Land of Charity." Foreigners add, "and of beggars." Beg-

/ ging^ is respectable. The laws of Manu make it the Brahmin's duty
to beg. Besides, there is the beggar caste, the members of which
are forbidden by custom to live by any other means. The lowest
coolie considers himself defiled should one of this caste labor beside
him. The Eurasians (half-caste), of whom there are 20,000 in the
Madras Presidency alone, present a most perplexing problem to
organized and private charities. As a class they are looked down
upon by the English and despised by the natives. Many of them
seem to have "inherited the vices of both parents and the virtues of
neither ;" large numbers have not sufficient education or training for
profitable employment, are too proud to perform menial service and
fall easily into habits of begging. Missionaries as a rule not only
do not entertain this sentiment but most strenuously uphold the
dignity of honest labor.

J Not only does religion and custom make begging respectable, the
same sanctions are bestowed upon giving to beggars. To bestow
charity on a beggar is to win merit for a future state, and he regards
his asking alms as conferring a favor upon the donor. Thus with
begging protected from the standpoint of society, the mendicant
upheld in his own self-respect, and with no opportunity offered him
to earn a living, indiscriminate private charity with all its attendant
evils is the result. And this state of things obtains in the entire
Indian Empire to-day. "With few unimportant exceptions in the
larger cities there are no workhouses, no vagrant laws, no restrictive
or reformative regulations of any- kind."

Famine has long been the terror of India. The Indian at best
is wretchedly poor.^ "A careful estimate based on the census shows

"there is plenty of land in India for the whole population ; what is required is
not the diminution of the people, but their more equal distribution."

Mr. Lilly adds: "India is not over-populated. Nor is it true that the popu-
lation is larger or rapidly increasing. * * * During the ten years ending
on the first of March, 1901, the addition to the population in the whole of India
was under 7,000,000."

^ Beach, The Cross in the Land of the Trident. ^ Beach. ' Dennis I, p. 2^2.


that there are multitudes who have not more than from six to twelve
rupees a year for support. The mean annual income of the people
of India is from 20 to 27 rupees, equivalent at present rate of silver
in India to about six to eight dollars."^ Sir W. Hunter states that
40,000,000, or one-sixth of the people, go through life on insufficient
food. It is small wonder that oftener than once a decade, failure of
food supply brings calamity.^ In the past 122 years there have
been 17 famines. "In 1832-33 Madras lost 150,000 to 200,000 out
of a population of 500,000. In 1865-66 in Orissa alone 1,000,000
out of a population of 3,000,000 perished. In the last famine of
1896-97 a population of 72,000,000 was affected, 37,000,000 in verit-
able famine, and 35,000,000 in land of scarcity."

Lord Curzon wrote to the Lord Mayor of London this letter,
May 23, 1900: "We are struggling with a famine greater in its in-
tensity over the areas afflicted than any previously recorded visita-
tion. . . In the middle of May, 1897, an area of 205,000 square
miles, with a population of 40,000,000 persons, was affected. In the
middle of ]\Iay, 1900, the figures are 417,000 square miles (or nearly
one-fourth of the entire extent of the Indian Empire), and 54,000,000
persons. In May, 1897, 3,811,000 persons were in receipt of Gov-
ernment relief ; in May, 1900, the total relieved was 5,607,000. At the
present movement, if we take the whole of the afflicted regions in
British India, 15 per cent, of the entire population are being sup-
ported by Government (in many parts the proportion is nearly
double). "=*

There is said to be no year when India does not produce food
enough for all its inhabitants. The immediate cause of famine in
parts of the country then, are attributed to lack of transportation
facilities, crop failure in parts, and the general thriftlessness of the
people. If the southwest or northwest monsoon fails to bring rain
and thus the food supply is short, India is in want.* To feed the
N. W. Provinces and Oudh takes 155^ mill.; to feed Madras, 32
mill. ; to feed Bengal, 54^^ mill. ; to feed Bombay, 24^ mill, of well-
watered lands. The possible remedy for this failure of rain is irri-
gation. From remote times Indians have sought by this means to
protect themselves from the calamities of drought. Under British

^ England's Work in India. — Hunter. ^ Dennis I.

' W. S. Lilly, India and its Problems, p. 288,
* Arnold, N. A. Rev., March, 1897,


control the irrigation works have been enlarged and new ones con-
structed on an enormous scale. In 1900 there were 31,544,000 acres,
one-seventh of the total crop area, under irrigation. Wells, tanks
and canals are employed. The Ganges Canal, the Bari Doab Canal,
and the Western Jumna Canal are among the most famous. These
works while involving great expenditure are indirectly profitable to
the British Government, since they obviate the loss of land revenue
and the expense of supplying a famine-stricken district with food
during a drought year.

In times of famine one method of relief employed by the govern-
ment is to provide labor upon these public works for wages sufficient
to keep the natives from starvation.

Over-population in India must be given as one cause of the ex-
treme poverty. Sir William Hunter is quoted by Dr. John Murdoch,
D. D., in "Twelve Years of Indian Progress," Madras, 1898, as
saying that the people of India are very poor "because every square
mile of Bengal has now to support three times as many families as
it had a hundred years ago ; because every square mile of British
India, deducting the outlying provinces of Burma and Assam, has
to feed nearly three times as many mouths as another square mile
of the Native States ; because the population has increased at such
a rate as to outstrip, in some parts, the food-producing powers of the
land." It should be remembered that before English rule in India
many causes operated to keep the population from increasing as
it has since. The constant internecine war and invasions by hostile
tribes almost depopulated large tracts. The ravages of famine were
practically unchecked. Diseases, such as smallpox, carried off hun-
dreds of thousands each year; thuggism (there were over one hun-
dred robber-castes in India) was unrestrained, and wild animals
killed many thousands yearly. But after a century of almost unin-
terrupted peace, and after a struggle with famine which has greatly
lessened its evils ; with vaccination for smallpox, with the suppres-
sion of robbery and its attendant murders, and with the clearing of
many of the jungles, the rapid increase in the population is itself a
serious difficulty.

This over-population and consequent poverty is due further to
certain domestic and religious customs.^ The common belief of the

^ Is India Becoming Richer or Poorer, Madras, 1898 (Papers on Indian



Hindus that a man who has no son to make offerings for him after
death falls into the hell called Put, leads to early marriage. Prof.
Runganatha Mudaliyar of Madras says : "I may feel that the best
thing I can do for my stupid son is to keep him single, until such time
at least as he is able to shift for himself and earn enough to maintain a
wife and children with ; but such is the tyranny of custom that he
must be married as soon as he arrives at man's estate, even though I
have the burden of supporting, it may be to the last day of my life, my
worthless son and his wife and all the creatures they may bring into
existence." People marry^ "irrespective of the means of subsistence,
and allow their numbers to outstrip the food-producing powers of the
soil. The mass of husbandmen are living in defiance of economic

The marriage customs and Shradda expenses are impoverishing
the Indians. A governor of Madras said :^ "He who could per-
suade his countrymen to give up their, to us, astounding expenditure
on marriages, would do more for South India than any government
could do in a decade." The Shraddas are ceremonies made after a
man's death by Brahmins, and are paid for by offerings left to them
by the deceased. Both of these customs put burdens upon the people
far beyond their ability and bring debts which paralyze all prosperity.
For a long time Rajputs murdered their infant daughters to avoid
the ruinous marriage expenses, until the British Government em-
ployed agents to stop the practice.^ The amount required for a fu-
neral ceremony or for a son's marriage is often from Rs. 400 to
Rs. 500.

The debts inevitable from such customs have made the Indian
usurer notorious. "The people may be separated into two classes,
borrowers and usurers." The Indian money-lender receives interest
from 15 per cent, to 75 per cent, a year. William Carey wrote in
1 82 1 ;■* "Among the numerous causes which contribute to exclude
happiness from the natives of India is the universal tendency to borrow
which pervades the whole country . . . with the inveteracy of a
second nature."

The tendency^ to turn money into ornaments is cited as another
leak for India's finances. There are (1898) 401,582 goldsmiths in

^ Is India Becoming Richer or Poorer, p. 32.

^Causes of Indian Poverty, Madras, 1896.

' Is India Becoming Richer or Poorer, p. 65. * Idem, p. 66. ^ Idem, p. 69.



India, to 384.908 blacksmiths.^ India receives one-quarter of the
gold and one-third of the silver produced throughout the whole
w^orld. Untold wealth, non-producing, is in hands of the Indians,
many of whom are borrowers, but whose love of hoarding and of
jewelry adds another item to the causes of ever-present poverty.

The Hindu family system often encourages idleness. The in-
tensest loyalty to kin exists everywhere. If one member of the
family has food or shelter, whether obtained by work or begging,
it is shared with all who can claim relationship.' "Ties of kinship
are everywhere acknowledged, discharged and repaid." This often
leads to improvident habits and idleness. Caste prejudice must
come in for its share of the responsibility for the pitiable condition
of India as respects poverty. The civil architect,^ the artisan, the
tiller of the soil are all accursed and degraded. Honest labor is a
disgrace, and begging is honorable. This state of things discourages
arts and the true development of the physical resources of a country.
Caste is responsible, too, for much of the suffering that results from
poverty.^ "A member of one caste will pass by the sufferings and
cruelties that come to one of another caste with supreme unconcern."

"Outside their own caste the weal or woe of their fellows affects
them in no degree whatever. We have again and again witnessed
along the great pilgrim routes of India harrowing illustrations of
this sad truth. We have seen poor creatures, smitten with disease,
lying on the roadside passed by hundreds of their co-religionists with
no more concern than if they were dying dogs ; we have seen the
poor parched sufferers with folded hands and pleading voice crave
a drop of water to moisten their lips, but all in vain. Hundreds thus
perish, untended, unpitied, unaided ; perhaps before death does its
work, the vultures and jackals begin theirs, and thus lines of whit-
ened bones and blackened skulls border the roads leading to the
sacred shrines ; and whence this worse than brutal callousness ?
What has dried up the springs of human sympathy? It is caste.
This, first of all, taught the people to look upon differing castes as
different species ; it next taught the lesson of defilement by contact ;
thus utter isolation and heartless selfishness account for the whole
of the sickening scenes described." ("The Trident, the Crescent
and the Cross").

^Debt: How to Get Out of It, Madras, 1892. = Arnold.

"Causes of India's Poverty, p. ii. * Beach.


"More enlightened views are beginning to prevail among some,
and a large-hearted benevolence, embracing all, is not unfrequently
exhibited. Still, such is not the caste spirit."^

A. Public Poor-Relief.^ — The Government makes grants for
hospitals and schools and the local municipal Boards are charged
with administering the greater part of them, e. g., the medical grant
of 1889-90 was Rs. 81,000. It will be remembered that these boards
are partly elected by the towns folk and partly appointed by the gov-
ernment. The district boards also administer funds made over to
them for medical-sanitation purposes, but delegate much to local
boards. As an illustration of expenses for medical work and hos-
pitals in the N. W. provinces and Oudh out of a total expenditure
in 1889-90 on public works, hospitals, etc., of Rs. 352,920, nearly
one-eighth, or Rs. 38,535, went for hospitals and Rs. 117,040 for

Besides this system of hospitals Great Britain keeps^ "a vast
organization of preventive and remedial agencies in readiness to
deal with the periodically recurring deaths," and a crore and a half
a year is allotted as a famine fund, to be supplemented in severe
famines by subscriptions in England, India and other parts of the
world.* This appropriation, made for relieving distress arising from
famine, is said to be making inroads on the old eleemosynary practice
of caste.

There is no Poor Law system in India,

C. Private Charity. — Hindu charity is all private charity.
A writer on Hindoo Charity for Charities Review, February, 1903,
says : "So secretly are the Hindoo charities managed that very few
persons, however fair-minded, have any adequate conception of how
the poor in India are succored." "No Brahmin would ever think
for an instant of asking how a person came to be in a needy condi-
tion. . . . His charities are done in secret, and this makes him
oppose all charitable institutions and organizations, believing they
cannot possibly operate in secrecy. . . . In no quarter of the
globe are the needy so well looked after." This is evidently stated
from the point of view of a Brahmin, but it serves to show that we

^ Rev. John Murdoch, D. D., Madras. See "The Women of India," pp. 83-87.

* Statement Exhibiting the Material Moral Progress of India, 1899-90.
^ Twelve Years of Indian Progress, p. 28.

* Charity Organization Review, Feb., 1903.


need look for no organized charity among the Hindoos at the present

In the principal cities of India^ Europeans have established
Friend-in-Need societies, in which relief is given only after due in-
quiry. In some cases also workshops have been established to en-
able persons to earn a living. These are solely for Europeans and

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 31 of 73)