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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lumbia, Prince Edward Island, and the Territories. The govern-
ment is administered by a legislative body of two chambers, the Par-
liament of the Dominion being a Senate and a House of Commons.
The chief executive is the Governor-General, assisted by a responsible
Privy Council. Each province has its own Parliament and admin-
istration, the right to regulate its own local affairs and dispose of
its revenues, provided that it does not interfere with the action and
policy of the general government.^

The population of Canada in 1901 was 5,371,315 (2,751,708 males
and 2,619,607 females), which showed an increase since 1891 of 11. 13
per cent. There were 3,428,265 English-speaking persons, 1,404,974
French-speaking, and 108,112 Indians. The largest cities are Mon-
treal (267,730), Toronto (208,040) and Quebec (68,840). The in-
crease of population in Manitoba alone is due to growth of rural
population. Ontario lost in rural population but gained greatly in
the industrial and commercial centers.

In 1 90 1 there were 17,987 immigrants from the United States,
9,401 from England, — in all 49,149.

* Statesman's Year Book, 1904.



There is no church established by law in British North America.
The Church of England has about 1,000 clergy, the Catholic about
1,500, the Presbyterian about 1,400, the Methodists 1,950 and the
Baptists about 500. The adherents of the Roman Catholic Church
are the most numerous of any single sect, — 2,229,000 out of a total

of 5.371,315-

Education is nominally compulsory, but the law is not very strictly
enforced. Funds for schools are generally supplied from Govern-
ment grants and local taxation. In Ontario, Quebec, and the North-
west Territories there are separate schools for Roman Catholics ; in
the other provinces the schools are unsectarian.

In the strict sense of the word there is no "poor law" in Canada.
"There are no poor rates levied in Canada, and nearly all the relief
is distributed through private or benevolent organizations ; they,
however, receiving the bulk of their funds from the municipalities"
(J. J. Kelso). ^ It might have seemed more logical to discuss Cana-
dian charities in close connection with the French system, since in
the Province of Quebec the methods of the Latin countries are fol-
lowed, and the same tendencies are observed even in the Protestant
provinces. But, on the other hand, Canada is a part of the British
Empire and English law and administrative ideals are rapidly shap-
ing institutional life. Close relations with the United States have
increasing influence, and we already see the extension of provincial
care of dependents. The Government has brought the insane under
its direction, and both outdoor and indoor relief, as well as child-
saving work, are coming under the regulation of law and receiving
help from general and local governments.

There is complaint in the Province of Quebec that the laws do
not prevent the sending of paupers to Montreal from the rural neigh-
borhoods and from other provinces and from the United States.
There is a growing demand for stricter settlement laws ; and it seems
entirely probably that the immigration and settlement of foreigners,
and the changes wrought by urban growth will necessitate the devel-
opment of a poor law. For the state will not suffer its poor citizens
to perish and the methods of the former days will not give security

^Charity Organization Review, 1900, p. 90. — Proc. National Conference of
Charities and Corrections, Reports from States, 1901, 1902, 1903, by A. M. Rose-
brugh, B. Balderston, L. Borden, H. Boyd, etc. Paper by F. H. McLean, N. C. C,
1 90 1, p. 139 ff. — Rep. Inspector of Prisons and Public Charities of Ontario, 1895.



to citizens recently arrived and without family and ecclesiastical con-
nections to protect them.^

A. Outdoor Relief (Quebec). — The poor in the old-fashioned
French villages are helped by their neighbors, often almost as poor
as themselves, yet taught charity by the village priest, whose word
is a higher law. First of all, the family is expected to care for one
of its members who is destitute, and mendicancy is exceptional.
Now and then an aged day laborer must be supported by his neigh-
bors. Alms are collected, generally in kind, and the collection is
made a religious ceremony and festival. So long as the community
is not invaded by "civilization" and its personal ties are not yet cut
apart by modern industry this simple and primitive charity is suffi-
cient for all ordinary requirements, and the insane can be taken to an

The vicissitudes of industries are already making themselves
felt in a population far more mobile and composite than that of earlier

"The phenomenon of partial pauperization, occasioned by the
severe winters and the cutting off of industries should not be passed
by. There are hundreds of families who seek aid as a matter of
right during the severe winters who never by any chance apply for
relief at other seasons of the year, no matter how things may
come out. During the periods of begging you could imagine you
were dealing with English paupers and yet at a given point the
deceit and hypocrisy are put away for the next season. Of course,
the true pauper is present in plenty, but the partial pauper is a type
in himself." (F. H. McLean.)

Outdoor Relief (Ontario). — Apparently the influence of the
French ideas of private charity is strongly felt, even in Ontario,
where British and Protestant influences are so strong; for there the
outdoor relief in cities is largely supplied and directed by voluntary
agents. The number of recipients in cities is very large, owing to
the severity of the winters, the presence of a large number of defec-

^ Another aspect is presented in a letter from Mr. F. H. McLean, "The 'backing
up' of undesirable immigrants trying to get into the United States by the back
doors and failing, owing to the recent thorough work of the Immigration Depart-
ment, has forced the whole question of immigration to the fore."

^ L'Habitant de Saint Justin, par M. Gerin, in Proc. and Trans, of the Royal
Society of Canada, 1898, p. 139.



tives^ sent over by philanthropic societies across the Atlantic, to
causes inherent interest in human nature everywhere, and to defects
in organization. In Toronto a system has been employed which re-
sembles at some points the Elberfeld system ; for the city is divided
into districts, in each of which applicants for relief are visited by un-
paid male agents. Able-bodied men, as a condition of receiving aid,
must cut wood or break stone as an earnest of sincerity. The writer
here quoted says : "There have not been lacking demands for a
national system, which should at least possess the advantages of
unity and of equalization of pressure of a burden which now weighs
heavily on the benevolently disposed. Yet many thoughtful Cana-
dians would deprecate the adoption of anything resembling the Eng-
lish poor law system, which has produced, as we believe, so rank a
crop of pauperism. For the touch of the state, in administering
charity, is cold and lifeless." Yet on another page it is said of
Toronto that in 1896 there were 8,000 persons, or about one in
twenty-two of the population, who received aid, "which is nearly
double the corresponding proportion in London, England." The
committee which manages the "House of Industry" is severely criti-
cized by some observers on the ground that they permit themselves
to be imposed upon, and that respectable and hardworking families
are discouraged by seeing drunken and unworthy persons freely as-
sisted. Their own report for 1901-2 shows that they gave relief to
1,459 families, $9,749.79 for all expenses, an average to each family
of $6.68. They add : "Whether it would be better to give assist-
ance to a less number of families and to increase the amount to those
receiving aid, is an open question. The most valuable assistance
that any family in need can receive is a visit by a wise, sympathetic
friend, and such we believe all our visitors to be." They assert
that the investigations of their 50 visitors are both thorough and
sympathetic. "The wonder is that so many men can be found who
are willing and have the qualifications which fit them for this delicate
and benevolent work." In 1894 the number of outdoor poor relieved
was 11,498; in 1901, with much greater population, only 5,713. Per-
haps criticism has improved the methods. Relief is given in kind, —
food, fuel, etc. The able-bodied applicants are subjected to a labor-
test in the stoneyard, breaking stone. The grants from the Ontario
government were $3,662.47; from the city corporation, $14,000.00;

^ A. M. Machar, in The Charities Review, 6:461 (1897).


from gifts, $2,498.11. The city gave grants to about 30 charity
associations in 1900. The Toronto Rehef Society is administered
by women and they also have visitors for districts.

One of the effects of lack of outdoor relief is mentioned by Mr.
Kelso in his report for 1903 : "Our present system of relief is woe-
fully lacking. If a mother is left with several little ones whom she
is unable to support, they are placed in public institutions or other-
wise scattered, and the unoffending children, and in most cases
equally innocent mother, are separated to the permanent injury of
both and to the detriment of society."

New Brunswick made grants in 1901 for public charities and re-
form to the amount of $63,000.

B. Public Administration (Province of Quebec). — While
the reformatories, industrial schools and asylums for the insane are
under private management, yet they receive public subsidies and are
subject to inspection by officials of government. The list of insti-
tutions receiving subsidies in 1901 included general hospitals, orphan
asylums, a shelter for women, 78 in all, and the sum divided was only

The municipality shares with the province the cost of maintain-
ing the insane. The arrangement for destitute children is not so
definite, and generally the municipality cares for them.

In New Brunswick outdoor relief is given from public funds by
the Almshouse Commission after investigation.

C. Private Charity (Nova Scotia). — Supported by volun-
tary contributions are several hospitals, associations for relieving
needy families, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty, a Protestant industrial school, a house of in-
dustry for girls, an infants' home, a Protestant orphans' home, homes
for the aged, and various institutions for youth, for sailors, etc.

In the Province of Quebec there is a mixture of English and Latin
ideals. In Montreal the substitute for the poorhouse is licensed beg-
ging^ in the streets, as in Italy. At the same time one observes the
generous spirit of philanthropy manifested in the voluntary support
of relief societies, churches and individual acts of kindness. Indeed,
practically all the charities of the Province of Quebec are supported
and controlled by private associations, many of them under the direc-
tion of the church, although not without aid from public funds.

^Richard H. Lane, N. C. C, 1903, p. 112.



In 1902 Mr. F. H, McLean expressed the judgment, in a survey
of the situation, that there was adequate provision for children and
the acutely sick ; that there were no places of refuge for the abjectly
miserable and degraded who are not in prisons, — no almshouses;
that there was fair provision for the respectable aged ; that there was
inadequate provision for incurables, — those suffering from chronic
diseases, the blind, the feeble-minded, homeless, convalescents, etc.
Since that time a refuge for incurables has been erected.

E, Co-operation (New Brunswick). — The Associated Chari-
ties of St. John was organized in 1889, in response to the conviction
that concerted action was desirable to secure more effective help to
the needy and to prevent imposture.

Cooperation (Quebec). — The C. O. S. movement has slowly but
quietly won its way in the cities. In 1903 it was reported from Mon-
treal that cooperation was more heartily accepted ; that the laws
against unlawful begging were better enforced; that deserters of
families were being brought back to their duty of support. The
C. O. S. of Montreal and the League for the Prevention of Tuber-
culosis, under the patronage of the Governor-General, are working
out plans for arresting the spread of consumption and for helping
the sick and poor.

F. Indoor Relief (Prince Edward Island). — There is a
poorhouse, sustained by the province, which has a population of
about 50 paupers.

(Ontario). — As late as 1895 the Inspector of Prisons and Public
Charities of Ontario reported that there were strong protests from
judges, grand jurors and others against placing the county poor in
the gaols. Old people had been committed to these places, designed
for criminals, under the vagrancy act, solely on account of their pov-
erty, had been clothed in prison clothes and fed upon the diet pre-
scribed for felons. The Government stimulated the counties to build
proper asylums by offering them grants to aid in erecting the homes,
and the counties were rapidly responding to the appeals for change.
The province contributes not to exceed $4,000 toward the cost of
erecting the building, other expenses being defrayed by the county.
In Toronto there is "The House of Industry," where funds are fur-
nished by the municipality and whose affairs are managed by a com-
mittee of citizens. The House of Providence, under Catholic control,
has about 600 inmates, from infants to old people, and incurables.


It is supported in part by an allowance from the Government and
from the city.^

The number of the inmates of the Toronto House of Industry
in 1901-2 was 341; the daily average 140; the cost $9,315.63; the
per diem cost per capita 18.1 cents.-

The typical House of Industry is on a farm of from 45 to 125 acres
situated within easy reach of the town. The statute places it under
the County Council, but a special committee with an inspector di-
rectly administers its affairs. Each institution has its superintendent,
matron and consulting physician. The expense for maintenance is
met by a general tax and by special assessments for local municipali-
ties for the support of inmates sent by them.

In 1 90 1 there were reported to be nineteen poor farms and
asylums in the Province of Nova Scotia.

There are six almshouses in the Province of New Brunswick.
There are also private institutions for aged females, penitents,
orphans, and the sick.

Indoor Relief in Quebec. — We have in the experience of the
Province of Quebec an interesting social experiment to show the
effects on charity methods of the absence of poorhouses. The
causes for this absence go back to the primitive settlement of the
country by a people homogeneous in religious faith, with a strong
family and neighborhood feeling, frugal in habits and hospitable to
the destitute. Their habitations served for refuges of distress. Iso-
lation cut them off from the development which went forward in
France and elsewhere ; strong tradition and custom upheld the an-
cient ways ; and so it happened that there were no almshouses for the
most miserable and wretched of all the destitute, those who were
not wanted in habitations and were not fit to mingle with the
respectable and tidy poor.^

Mr. McLean's observations in Montreal led him to these con-
clusions : The absence of poorhouses does not materially increase
the number of those who give to private charity. The burdens of

^Twenty-eighth Annual Report on Gaols, etc., 1895, p. 2. — Poor Relief in
Canada, by J. J. Kelso, Charity Organization Review, 1900, p. 89 ff. K. W. Mc-
Kay, Municipal Organization in Ontario, 1903 (in University of Toronto Studies,
vol. II, No. 2).

* 6sth Annual Rep. House of Industry, 1901-02.

*Mr. F. H. McLean brought out these significant points at the National Con-
ference of Charities in 1901 (N. C. C, p. 139 ff).



private charity in the support of non-residents are increased, be-
cause the government is not concerned and does not give the pro-
tection of settlement laws and does not provide funds. The private
institutional relief is also affected by the lack of poorhouses : discrimi-
nation in regard to applicants is made more difficult ; yet there is
no assurance anywhere that a particular applicant will be received
and find shelter; and proper classification is rendered impossible,
while the service often deteriorates. The effects on outdoor private
relief are also serious. The absence of a place of final resort, though
it would only be required in a comparatively few cases, weakens the
spirit of sympathetic firmness which is often required in giving or
withholding aid. There is an unusual amount of indiscriminate
relief even among the more intelligent, and this makes it more dif-
ficult to secure means to help the helpable cases. Private outdoor
charity has taken on some of the worst features of public outdoor
relief, — stereotyped amounts of relief, neglect of investigation and
personal service, doles, officialism, and methods of relief which mean
degradation and humiliation to applicants. The custom of requir-
ing the applicants to herd together in a room while the boards meet
and to submit to questions before the full board in a public office,
without friendly visits at homes, tends to harden both officials and

This analysis does not reflect on the disposition of the people,
for nowhere are men more sympathetic and generous ; but it reveals
the importance of modern system and methods, and shows that the
spirit of charity, in order to produce the effect which it seeks, can-
not dispense with science and suitable mechanism.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal has recently estab-
lished, under the management of the Sisters of Providence, the
Hospice des Incurables ; and this will give some relief.

H. Medical Relief. — The absence of a system of outdoor
relief and even of county poorhouses in many parts of the Dominion
throws the care of the destitute sick and injured upon private charity.
In the vast regions not yet settled and brought under tillage the ar-
rangements remain very primitive and inadequate. Nowhere does
voluntary philanthropy supply medical relief with that certainty and
comprehensiveness which are found in the established public systems
of older peoples. There must, in the nature of the case, be much
neglect in rural neighborhoods remote from centers of population;


although wherever physicians are found we may be sure that poverty
will not be refused the aid of their skill. In Canada, quite as much
as elsewhere, the heaviest part of the burden of medical charity falls
on the members of the healing profession. Such deeds cannot be
chronicled, save in the forgiven accounts of country doctors and in
the golden books of the recording angels. Statistics in this region
are dumb.

With the growth of wealth, science and cities the people push
forward the establishments of hospitals. Physicians desire to have
them for the more effective treatment of private patients and for
instruction and clinical experience of students. Charity lends its
own motive in happy union with science and personal interests ; and
so we find in Mr. Burdett's list the descriptions of hospitals sup-
ported by fees of pay-patients, gifts of benevolent persons, contribu-
tions from churches, grants and subsidies from public authorities.

General Hospitals (Public). — The Statistical Year-Book of
Canada for 1901 gives these data : In 1900 there were in Ontario
52 general hospitals, with 29,761 patients ; in Nova Scotia, 2 hospitals
with 1,868 patients; in New Brunswick, 4 hospitals with 1,492 pa-
tients ; in Manitoba, 7 hospitals with 5,933 patients ; the Territories,
10 hospitals with 2,142 patients.

The expenditures on general hospitals from government and other
sources were: Ontario, $570,150 (government gave of this, $110,-
000) ; Nova Scotia, $55,957 (government, $49,756) ; Manitoba,
$213,719 (government, $47,089) ; Territories, $53,893 (government,


The Prince Edward Island Hospital was built and equipped at
a cost of $20,000 by voluntary gifts and on ground given by a clergy-
man. There are now two hospitals supported by subscriptions, and
about one-half the patients are unable to pay.

New Brunswick has a general hospital at St. John, and at Fred-
ericton, Chatham, Campbellton, Scton Falls, and St. Stephens. At
Tracadie a hospital for lepers was founded in 1858 by the Sisters of
the Hotel Dieu of Montreal, which had in 1901, 21 patients.

Mr. Burdett gives the cost of maintenance and treatment in
typical Canadian hospitals. The cost per in-patient per day at the
Montreal General was $1.37 and at the Winnipeg General, $1.13.
The former are old figures. In the English general hospitals, with-
out medical schools, the rates vary from $.81 to $1.60 in London, and



in the provincial institutions, from $.59 to $1.42. In hospitals with
medical schools the rates are higher, — from $1.05 to $1.73.^

Nursing (Province of Quebec). — The Victorian Order of Nurses
provides for district nursing in the city of Montreal. The training
of nurses continues to attract the attention of medical men and of
the philanthropic public, and is recognized as a necessary element in
the service of hospitals.

Tuberculosis (Ontario). — The National Sanitarium Association
has an establishment in the famous health resort at Muskoka, North-
ern Ontario, and the general hospitals set apart special rooms for
consumptive patients. In Toronto a society has been formed for the
purpose of providing proper treatment of the consumptive poor of
that city.

J. Blind. — Prince Edward Island has no institution for the
blind, but the province pays for the education of blind children in
a school at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Institution for the Blind of the Maritime Provinces is at
Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Deaf Mutes (Prince Edzvard Island). — At Halifax is a school
for deaf mutes to which the children of this class are sent for instruc-
tion and their expenses are paid by the province.

Insane. — For New Brunswick is claimed the honor of being the
first of the old British North American provinces to make special
provision for its insane. At first each county cared for its own
insane, and they were kept in jails or poorhouses. A provincial
asylum was established in 1832 and it has been improved and en-
larged from time to time. In 1893 a board of visitors, representa-
tives of various religious denominations and other social interests,
was appointed to safeguard the welfare of patients and assure the
public that they were faithfully served. The province recognizes the
duty of the state to care for all the insane and seeks to provide for
them in hospitals rather than in poorhouses.

In Ontario the first movement on behalf of the insane was made
in 1830, but went no further than to legalize the payment for main-
tenance in county jails, their only public shelter and refuge. In
1841 the old jail of Toronto was transformed into an asylum for
this class of patients. After a history, often marked by ignorance,

^ Burdett, Hospitals and Charities, 1903, p. 161 ; and on pages 791-805 a list of
Canadian hospitals in all the provinces.


neglect and cruelty, a really modern institution was developed and
humane and scientific treatment afforded. Other institutions (at
Kingston, Hamilton, Minico, and Brockville) have been erected to
meet the growing needs of a larger population, and all are conducted
according to the demands of modern science.

There were i8 asylums for the insane in the Dominion in 1900-1
and during the year indicated 11,879 persons were treated, of whom
6,116 were males and 5,581 females. The apparent increase of in-
sanity during the forty years 1861-1901 is shown in the fact that
the total number of insane and idiots officially known in 1861 was
1,631, or I to 856 of the population; and in 1901 the number was
5,880, or I to 371 of the population.^

The expenditures were as follows: Ontario (1901), $623,676;
Quebec (1900), $321,979 (government paid all) ; Nova Scotia, the
government paid $69,029; New Brunswick, $57,834 (government,

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 34 of 73)