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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$36,000) ; Manitoba, $82,491 (all by government) ; British Columbia,
$49,262 (government, $43,828) ; Prince Edward Island, $21,123 (^^^
by government).

Quebec is the only one of the provinces of the Dominion in which
there are no state institutions for the care of the insane, its provision
for this unfortunate class consisting of four proprietary establish-
ments, and one incorporated, charitable institution, the latter the
Protestant Hospital for the insane.

During the latter part of the eighteenth century dangerous luna-
tics were intrusted to the care of religious orders, with a payment
from the Legislature. It became manifest that these persons were
not trained to care for the insane and that they could not give them
suitable shelter.

In 1884 Dr. D. Hack Tuke,^ the eminent alienist, visited the asy-
lums of Quebec and published very severe criticisms of their condi-
tion. He found them crowded, the patients without occupation or
recreation, held under excessive restraint, and the government visit-
ing physicians without authority to correct the abuses which they
found. The medical men united in a complaint to the government
and in 1885 an act was passed placing the medical control of these
establishments in the hands of the government, which reserved to

^ The Canadian Annual Review, 1902, pp. 397-398. — Statistical Year Book,
1901, pp. 590, 592.

^ The Insane in the United States and Canada (1885).


itself the appointment of a medical superintendent and assistant phy-
sicians for each of them. There was resistance to the new order
at Beauport Asylum, disagreeable revelations of abuses, and, in 1893,
a transfer of proprietorship to the Sisters of Charity of Quebec,
with whom the government made an agreement for the maintenance
of the public insane at $100 the person annually. The buildings were
modernized and the entire administration and service improved.

The lesson from the painful history revealed by Dr. Tuke was
that the kindness, tidiness, and self-sacrificing devotion of religious
women is no substitute for the firm and humane direction of a mod-
ern physician, expert in psychiatry and familiar with scientific

One-half the cost of pauper patients is met by the municipalities
in which they were committed. The number supported by provincial
and local funds in 1900 was 2,953, at a cost of $321,979. The per-
centages of cures to admission, as claimed by the institutions, were
27.49, 27.23 and 37.41. The percentage of patients able to work was
65.49 in the Verdun Asylum and 58 in the St. Jean de Dieu.

The Protestant Hospital of Quebec was established, after many
delays and trials, in 1890. The capacity in 1898 was 412. The insti-
tution is governed by a board and is subject to government inspection.
The average annual rate of maintenance is $175 and the government
subsidy is only $150 per patient. There is some endowment and
deficits are made up by voluntary contributions. The non-restraint
policy is carried out in treatment of patients.

There is a hospital for the insane of New Brunswick at St. John.

In 1901 in Nova Scotia there were nineteen poor farms and asy-
lums for chronic harmless insane in the province. The Nova Scotia
Hospital for Insane had under treatment in 1901, 538 patients.

The insane of Prince Edward Island are treated in a provincial
hospital. In 1901 there were on an average 195 inmates, and the
cost to the province was $22,472.76.

Insane Paupers (Ontario). — The insane population of the Prov-
ince of Ontario is about 4,500, and about 1,000 of them are thought
to be simple cases of senility or dementia. The policy has been to
care for such cases of chronic pauper insane in local poorhouses and
at local expense. The provincial authorities seek to avoid crowd-

' Address of T. J. W. Burgess, in Proc. and Trans, of Royal Society of Canada,
1898, sec. iv, p. I ff.


ing the hospital with such patients. In 1903 it was declared that
fifty or sixty of the insane were confined in county jails awaiting
admission to the asylums, and some controversy has arisen between
the provincial and local authorities over the problem.

By special arrangement with the Dominion Government insane
patients from the frontier regions of the unorganized territories of
the Northwest are cared for in the provincial asylums of Manitoba,
the rate paid being one dollar per day for each patient.

Feeble-Minded (Quebec). — In 1873 the government made a con-
tract with the Sisters of Charity to care for the idiots who were up
to that time held in asylums for the insane at excessive cost and under
unsuitable conditions.

Prince Edward Island has no school for feeble-minded children.

Feeble-Minded (Ontario). — There is a state institution for feeble-
minded children and youth at Orillia founded in 1876, and the ques-
tion of providing for the custodial care of weak-minded women of
child-bearing age has been discussed by the Canadian Conference of
Charities and Correction and by the National Council of Women of
Canada, but the government has not moved in the matter; but the
idea of custodial care was in some degree realized at Orillia earlier
than elsewhere in America.

Epileptics (Ontario). — Separate institutions for epileptics have
been favored by competent leaders but have not yet been provided by
the province. A number of these patients are in the state institu-
tion for the feeble-minded and a few are in the county houses of
refuge, but these are probably only about one-quarter of all who need
public care.^

Children and Youth (Ontario). — The preventive work of the
Province of Ontario has been developed under the leadership of
Mr. J. J. Kelso. There are 27 children's aid societies acting under
his superintendence. These agencies have prevented abuse and
cruelty in homes and have found foster homes for many children
who were a public charge. About two thousand children have been
placed out and their interests are carefully safeguarded by a system
of supervision. About 380 delinquent children were, at the last re-
port, in various institutions of the province, and they are gradually
being transferred from a reformatory to the industrial schools, a
signal mark of the modern spirit in dealing with such children. The

* A. M. Rosebrugh, M. D., N. C. C, 1902, p. 114.



Ontario Legislature passed an act providing for the absorption of
the Ontario Reformatory by the Victoria and St. John schools, and
raised the age for commitment to industrial schools from fourteen to
sixteen years. Children found begging, or without a home, or neg-
lected and unsuitable for placing out, or exposed to moral dangers
by dissolute parents, or guilty of petty crimes, or expelled from school
for vicious conduct, may be sent to the industrial school. Children
discharged from school are to be supervised by its officers, and are
under guardianship until 21 years of age. The population of four
schools (in 1903) was 267. The Manitoba Legislature is working in
the same direction.^

Ontario. — There is as yet in Ontario no system of probation
officers, except a few agents of the Children's Aid Societies. ''At
present boys who commit minor offences are allowed to go on sus-
pended sentence, and they often return to the same surroundings and
the same temptations, with the additional difficulty that they have
attained a bad reputation and are more liable than ever to go astray."
(Mr. Kelso). Such lads need a friend to advise and help them,
to warn the junk dealer and idle companions not to tempt them, and
to win them to a better way.

The last Legislature passed a law which may open the way for
the appointment of probation officers. When a child under sixteen
years of age is charged with any offense the judge may place him in
the care of a probation officer who is required to report on his prog-
ress and conduct. The law does not state who shall appoint proba-
tion officers and says nothing about payment for their services. At
the last report very little use had been made of the act.

The same Legislature passed a law forbidding the confinement of
children under the age of fourteen in jails, and requiring that they
be placed in the custody of a friend or society until the time of trial.
But this law does not apply in cases of violation of the penal code of
the Dominion, but only when the provincial acts have been violated ;
and the sheriffs do not carry it into effect even when it applies. Until
a corps of reliable agents are provided and paid these excellent laws
will be in great part a dead letter.

Prince Edward Island. — The province has no institution for desti-
tute children, but supports them in private families.

Eleventh Report of Superintendent of Neglected and Dependent Children of
Ontario, 1903. All the reports of Mr. Kelso are valuable and interesting.


Children's Courts, Province of Quebec. — The trials of children
are held in places apart from the ordinary court-rooms, gen-
erally private. The regulation was made a part of the penal code
in 1892, antedating most of the Children's Courts established
in the United States. Children must be kept in separate rooms in
jails and prisons apart from other offenders while awaiting trial.
In Montreal they are placed in an industrial school, and are never
confined in the jail. The new city charter of Montreal provides that
children under sixteen years of age and having no one to give them
proper care, may be sent by a recorder to an institution, apprenticed,
or confided to a suitable person to the eighteenth year.

In the five reformatory schools, three for boys and two for girls,
there were in 1900, 259 inmates, and the cost of maintenance was
$34,945.70. In the industrial schools there was a population of 304,
and the cost of maintenance was $20,603.41.

Prisons and penitentiaries of Quebec are maintained and admin-
istered by the province ; but reformatories and industrial schools for
youthful delinquents are under private control, and for these a per
capita allowance is paid for their maintenance.

The Ontario law prohibits the admission into any poorhouse or
institution where adult dependents are kept of any child between the
ages of two and sixteen.

There are nine societies in England, both Protestant and Catholic,
which send out waifs and poor adults to find homes in Canada. The
most famous of these is the National Incorporated Waifs' Associa-
tion, otherwise known as Dr. Barnardo's Homes. This society has
distributing homes in various places, as at Peterborough, Ontario
(for girls) ; Toronto (for older lads), and in Winnipeg. These
children have first been tested for a time in the homes in England.
The number emigrated in 1901 by Dr. Barnardo was 1,053. There
seems to be now little opposition to the immigration of these children
since the system of testing at home and supervision in the provinces
was introduced.

In March, 1903, the Local Government Board of England urged
the Board of Guardians to emigrate orphans and deserted children ;
stated that the average cost was not to exceed £15, including the
expense of inspection ; and quoting the Commissioner of Emigration
of the Dominion of Canada as saying that "at no previous time in



Canada have there been so many opportunities as at present for
absorbing in a satisfactory manner young emigrants."

The Province of Ontario keeps an inspector in Liverpool who is
required to reject children who are diseased, defective, immoral and
not furnished with clothing for both summer and winter. They are
usually old enough to render some assistance in domestic or agricul-
tural work, and they have some training,

M. Preventive. Care for Discharged Prisoners. — There is a
Prisoners' Aid Association in Ontario which urges reforms and looks
after discharged prisoners upon release. This society advocates the
indeterminate sentence and parole system, the extension of probation
for first offenders, and a more scientific treatment of inebriates.

Preventive Work (Province of Quebec). — In Montreal the
Park and Playground Society was organized to establish model
playgrounds in small public squares ; and a Decimal Stamp Savings
Fund for the encouragement of thrift.

Mutual Benefit Associations. — About 30 societies of wage-
workers were reported in 1900 as furnishing sick and funeral bene-
fits, and six which gave indemnities akin to life insurance. The
number of members in each society ranged from 23 to 920, none
being of great extent. (Labour Gazette,^ 1901.)

The principle of state care of wage-earners through compulsory
insurance is hardly discussed, even as a theoretical possibility, in
Canada. Industries must be much further developed than now
before a general conviction of need of such legislation will be felt.
But the Dominion government, with its department of labor and its
official Labour Gazette, gives evidence of the interest of men of state
in the life conditions of the rapidly growing group of industrials,
and this department is administered in a thoroughly modern spirit.

^ Information kindly supplied by Dr. W. L. M. King, Deputy Commissioner of



Historical Introduction. — During the Middle Ages, the poor
of Holland were assisted either through unorganized private benefi-
cence, or by the church, which administered charity through the
parish organization. With the decline of this parish administration
came numerous hospitals and other institutions for the needy, most
of which were founded by civic orders and by religious guilds and
brotherhoods. After the fourteenth century there was an overseer
of the poor who looked after the indoor poor.

In spite of the relief ofifered by these various agencies, or, perhaps,
on account of the relief, the number of beggars and vagrants became
so great that the state and city were often impelled to issue police
orders against them. These orders were ineffectual. The chief
difficulty lay in the practice of indiscriminate giving on the part of
the private citizens and in the lack of unity among organized chari-
ties. It was to secure the desired unity that the ordinance of 1531
was passed. This ordinance was modelled upon a system which had
been introduced in Ypern and which had been praised by the faculty
of the Sorbonne in Paris. To the end of gaining unity, it was de-
creed that all charitable institutions should have a common purse.
But the times were unfavorable for carrying out the provisions of
this ordinance. The princes were occupied with the political dis-
turbances of the Reformation and were unable to execute reforms
which conflicted with so many private interests. The greater num-
ber of the old institutions founded by private beneficence remained
with regulations but slightly changed.

In the latter part of the sixteenth century the old system of parish
administration was revived by the Old Church and by the Reformed
Church. Later the other churches, Catholic, Lutheran and Jewish,




also adopted the system. There were two important features in
this later parish system. In the first place, provision was made for
the selection of capable deacons who were to give their time to the
work of administration. Secondly, the poor received individual
treatment, since a part of the deacon's duty was to visit each poor
family, giving- counsel as well as material assistance.

The poor who were not members of any church were cared for
either by institutions supported by the cities or by the institutions
of the deacons in the Reformed Church. The cities paid these dea-
cons for caring for those who were not members of the Reformed
Church and through these payments came to have oversight of the
institutions, thus preventing the development of an independent eccle-
siastical administration. The most confused diversity, as to methods
of relief, ruled in each district. There were at least two ways of
giving aid in almost every institution. In the first place there were
homes into which were brought the sick, the aged, the defective and
orphans, for permanent support. Then there were those to whom
transient support was given in their own homes. The work of these
charity organizations was supported by Sunday collections, house
to house collections and by legacies.

That the poor-relief of Holland in the seventeenth century was
inefficient is proved by the high rate of mortality, by the great num-
ber of hospitals and pest houses, and by the large numbers of beg-
gars, tramps and foundlings. During the latter part of the seven-
teenth and the first half of the eighteenth century, the situation was
improved. This period was marked by the building of almshouses
richly supported by legacies and bequests, and by the employment
of the poor in industrial undertakings and in workhouses, although
this last was almost without results.

Toward the end of the eighteenth century the burden of pauper-
ism had become so great, as a result of the unfavorable industrial
situation and the confusion in charity administration, that the state
was compelled to do something that would bring relief. The wars
of the Revolution had increased the burden of taxation and brought
about a stagnation of business, thus depriving large numbers of the
means of support. It has been estimated that in Amsterdam not less
than fifty per cent, of the people received support, while the propor-
tion thus aided in Delft, Leiden and Rotterdam was thirty, twenty-
five and eighteen per cent., respectively. According to the constitu-



tion of 1798, the poor administration of the whole republic was to
be regulated according to a single uniform plan. Accordingly a gen-
eral law for the regulation of charities was passed in 1800. This
law provided for the erection of public poorhouses by each parish,
which were to be the principal means of furnishing relief to the needy.
Although the law left private and ecclesiastical institutions undis-
turbed, in so far as they were able to prove that they possessed re-
sources sufiEicient to enable them to do efficient work, they felt that
their prestige was endangered and so opposed it. The law was never
made effective, and in 181 5, with the establishment of the kingdom
of the Netherlands, the old system was restored, but with some

The fundamental law of 181 5 lays upon the government the duty
of providing institutions for the welfare and education of the poor,
but almost no one at that time thought of a single unified regulation
of the whole poor system. Nevertheless, provision was made for
annual reports to be made by each institution to the government.
The law of 1818 had two important provisions and these remained
in force until 1854. The first provided that when any request for
aid was apparently well founded and still of such a character that
the parish or institution took some time to investigate, it had to sup-
ply immediate urgent needs provisionally, and that such parish or
institution should be reimbursed for such expenditure by the parish
properly charged with the support of such persons. The second pro-
vision determined the domicile of various classes of persons for pur-
poses of support. The place of birth was designated as the place
of residence, but this could be lost by four years' continuous residence
in another place. By marriage the woman took the domicile of her
husband, and minor children had the residence of their parents. For-
eigners could gain a settlement by six years' residence in the same
place. This law worked well at first, but was gradually made un-
suitable through a series of decrees which tended to bring the
church institutions under the control of the state and thus aroused
their opposition. Finally, in 1851, a bill was proposed designed to
limit the sphere of all ecclesiastical institutions and increase that of
the public institutions. This bill called forth a storm of petitions
from all parts of the kingdom. These petitions were the forerunners
of the crisis which ended with the resignation of the ministry in



The relative importance of the three classes of charitable institu-
tions, public, church, and mixed, may be seen from the following sta-
tistics : In 185 1 there were in all 3,506 institutions for indoor relief.
Of these, 2,230 belonged to the churches, 1,179 were public and 79
mixed. Of those belonging to the churches the great majority were
wholly supported by freewill offerings, only 454 receiving contribu-
tions from the civil parish resources.

At this point the notable experiment made by the "Maatschappy
van Weldadigheid" (Society of Beneficence) in establishing farm
labor colonies should receive some attention. These colonies were
founded in 18 18 and have continued with a somewhat varied ex-
perience to the present time. On account of the special interest
attaching to their experiment it will be given a separate section at the
close and there accorded a more extended treatment than could be
given here without destroying the unity of the presentation.

The law under which the charities of Holland are administered
to-day was passed in 1854 and amended in 1870. The purpose of
this law was to bring the whole system of poor-relief into some sort
of unity. As the church institutions of charity were determined to
maintain their independence, the plan of the law was to secure as
great a unity as was possible without encroaching upon their inde-
pendence. Four classes of institutions were recognized : (a) Public
institutions of charity — state, provincial, and municipal — under the
control of the civil authorities; (b) institutions founded, supported,
and controlled by church congregations for the benefit of the poor
of a specified faith; (c) institutions founded and supported by pri-
vate organizations; (d) mixed institutions ruled and administered
by the civil authorities in union with church congregations or pri-
vate organizations.

The main idea is that the support of the poor is to be kept as a
rule to churches and private societies. The public charitable insti-
tutions were empowered to give aid only in cases of extreme neces-
sity where the needy were unable to receive help from any other
institutions. The church and private institutions were to have the
largest possible sphere of service, but each was required to furnish
regular reports containing information as to its burdens, regulations
and administration. Moreover, for all collections except those made
in church the consent of the city government had to be obtained.
The policy of the civil poor administration was to assist the poor



to the natural means of support, so far as possible, rather than to
give money. All institutions and administrative bodies had a right
to be recompensed by relatives of the persons supported. It was ex-
pected that each institution would keep the others informed as to
its internal organization and the result of its activities. The unity
of the system was to be secured through the information thus fur-
nished each to others. Moreover, each civil parish had to keep a
current record of the institutions within its borders.

The definitions of domicile for the purposes of support consti-
tuted a fruitful source of inequality and contention. The trouble
arose out of the fact that there had come to be a large number of
people who, leaving the place of their birth, moved from place to
place in the larger cities, not staying anywhere long enough to acquire
a residence. Four years' continuous residence in one place was nec-
essary in order to gain a settlement. After spending the better years
of their lives working in large cities, many laborers were compelled
to ask for support in their old age. Not having acquired a settle-
ment in the city, they had to be cared for by the parish of their birth-
place, or if cared for by some institution in the city the home parish
was compelled to pay the expense. This had the effect of giving
the working years of a man's life to the city and the years of his
dependency to the poor rural parish. Many of the contests that
grew out of such cases had to be referred to the King for decision.
Similarly, the parishes of their former home were often called upon
to pay for the support of women at maternity hospitals in cities.
The opposition to these payments by the rural parishes led to an
amendment of the law in 1870, by which the burden of assisting such

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 35 of 73)