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

. (page 37 of 73)
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 37 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

such a character as to defeat the main purpose so far as the redeem-
able members were concerned.^

K.-L. Children and Youth. — The penal code distinguishes
(art. 38 and 39) between minors who act with and without discern-
ment. Minors convicted as having acted with discernment incur the
same penalties as adults, only with certain mitigation. Those ac-
quitted as having acted without discernment are sent to public or
private houses of correction. There are three colonies, two for boys
and one for girls, and a private colony.

A law of 1886 regulates the conditions of placing children morally
neglected in public houses of education. Private charity watches
over them in orphanages and homes. The Society for the Education
of Orphans in Families works to place children in homes of farmers
or workmen selected by them.

M. Preventive. School for Training Social Workers. — Tn
view of the movements in London and in American cities it is inter-
esting to note that they were anticipated in Holland. Mr. Janssen
has established at Amsterdam "Ons Huis" (Our House) whose pur-
pose is general "extension" of school work for the people without re-
gard to religious and political differences. Here also is a course of
study for social workers, somewhat similar to that given in Berlin for
women engaged in public service. The Amsterdam school has in
view a systematic, theoretical and practical education of persons of
both sexes who intend to give themselves to earnest labors. The
course is two years in length. The first year is devoted to obtaining

^ Robin, M. le pasteur ; Hospitalite et travail, Paris, 1887. Riviere, L. Men-
diants et Vagabonds, p. 7, 1902.



general social knowledge about various branches of philanthropic en-
terprise ; and at the close of the first year the pupils decide to which
branch they will devote themselves ; and in the second year they make
special preparation for this chosen pursuit. Pupils are also received
for the second year alone. The training is extended at present to the
following branches : Poor-relief, management of tenement houses,
care of children who are deprived of their parents, and, finally, to
that which is the principal aim of the House, '"The effort to put
within the reach of workingmen the mental development which they
need, and to further friendly relations between different social
classes." This is very similar to the English and American settle-
ment activity. Students must be 23 years of age to be admitted.

The theoretical instruction is in economics, state administration,
civil law, hygiene, pedagogics, poor-relief, care of children, tene-
ment house problems, factory laws, workingmen's insurance, social-
ism, alcoholism, youthful offenders, savings banks, general insur-
ance, etc. Practical training is given in the first year by visits to
all kinds of institutions, and in the second year by actual participa-
tion in particular forms of work under the guidance of experts. It
has been difficult to secure suitable practical teachers, but progress
has been made. These courses have now been given since 1900.
From 10 to 12 new students enter each year, all but two being
women. ^

Schools for Nurses. — In 1884 Miss Reijnsvaan secured the estab-
lishment of a school for nurses at Amsterdam and superintended the
pupils. The first course was a year, but the time was afterward
extended to three years and an examination is required. By means
of the Netherland Union for the Treatment of the Sick this form of
instruction has been introduced in most of the cities of Holland
since 1893. The general committee issues diplomas to approved
graduates. The institution of the White Cross in Amsterdam up to
March 31, 1901, had issued 652 diplomas. The schools are connected
with the leading hospitals.

Workingmen's Insurance.^ — In Holland we can observe the

^Zeit. f. d. Armenwesen, August, 1903, p. 248.

"Zachar, Die Arbeiter-Versicherung in Auslande, Heft XIII, 1901. M. Bellom,
Les lois d'assurance ouvriere a I'etranger, II, 1896, pp. 1163-1164. J. G. Brooks,
Compulsory Insurance, p. 349 (rev. ed.). T. Bodiker, Die Arbeiter-Versicherung
in den Europaischen Staaten, 1895.


gradual approach through voluntary associations for insurance
to a measure of state intervention and action. In respect to sick-
ness Zacher (1901) showed that the very poor are generally cast
upon public charity, since they are unable to pay premiums into a
fund. In Amsterdam, in 1895, 15 per cent, of the population were
dependent on free medical relief at home and 10,531 persons on hos-
pitals. In The Hague 9 per cent, of the population were treated
by medical charity. There were indeed many voluntary societies
which collected premiums and paid sick and burial benefits, but these
associations reveal the defects of their kind. Few of them extend
over the entire country. In many places none exist. The premiums
are not paid on sound actuarial principles. The administrators are
not always competent and honest. In spite of many abuses laid bare
by the investigations of a commission the people are generally op-
posed to state interference and supervision.

The necessity for old age pensions and invalid benefits has been
made apparent by governmental investigations. Outside of a few
favored localities the majority of workmen who live beyond 65 years
become dependent on charity. The government has for some time
provided pensions for its own aged servants who become superannu-
ated, and this emphasizes the injustice of the situation for ordinary
workmen. Several attempts have been made to provide for old age
by voluntary organizations of workmen and of employers, but with-
out results of any general importance. Zacher gives the draft of a
bill prepared by the government for compulsory insurance which
shows the influence of the German law.

In respect to accident insurance Holland has made much progress,
in spite of the laissez-faire policy so long followed. Under the older
law a workman might indeed recover damages from his employer if
he could prove that his injury was due to some fault of the employer
or his agents. This was mockery, for a workman could not aflford
costly litigation and fault of an employer is impossible, in most cases,
to prove. In case of sailors and railway employes the law was more
favorable. The first step of the government was to make it the duty
of employers to insure their employes in a company, but this half-way
measure left most of the wage-earners still without protection. After
many and prolonged discussions in the National Legislature a com-
promise bill was enacted January 25, 1901, providing for the legal
insurance of workmen in case of injury in certain occupations. And


thus Holland takes its place among the nations which give solid
guarantees to the capable and industrious citizens, against the misery
which is an inevitable incident of industry; and it gives promise of
further developments in the same field.



Historical Introduction. — Previous to the political organi-
zation of society the members of households, clans and tribes
were dependent on each other for assistance in time of need. In
Scandinavian countries at this stage of social evolution dependent
persons were aided by relatives (in Sweden, Aett, Sippe, Clan).
The ancient laws of Iceland were based on communal care of
the poor, and even after the introduction of the Christian Church
they retained a prevailing secular character. In Norway the evi-
dences of such communal relief are scant. Indigent persons who
had no relatives bound to support them, were to be cared for by
the peasants by boarding them around in turn. From about the
beginning of the thirteenth century one-fourth of the tithe was
devoted to the poor, and the system of relief was fairly well
developed. This arrangement, after the loss of independence and
the introduction of the Reformation, was broken down. In the
first half of the seventeenth century the tithe, which had gradu-
ally been neglected, failed entirely in the country districts. Even
in the cities the poor not cared for in institutions were assisted by
gifts and fines. Deacons administered the relief. By royal ordi-
nance of 1 741 the principle of compulsory contributions was
introduced; idlers and beggars were sent to workhouses; inno-
cent dependents were boarded around and given material relief.

The Mediaeval period saw the rise of the state; but, as in
other parts of Europe, it was the church which administered
poor-relief, through parish and monastic machinery. Tithes
were paid the clergy for their own support and for the relief of
the poor, two-ninths of this source of income being devoted to
the poor. The Reformation led to the suppression of monas-



teries and to the loss of many customary revenues. Parallel with
the movement in Great Britain we can trace the different stages
of secularization of poor-relief. Tribe and church no longer per-
form the function ; yet during the transition the church sought
to meet the need by appeals to voluntary contributions. A
church order of 1571 commanded the various parishes to show
compassion to their own indigent members. As the roving and
resident multitude of beggars waxed greater, ordinances were
issued to direct assistance, as in 1642; and in 1686 all residents of
a church parish were required to make a contribution for the
purpose. As these doles, none too systematically collected, failed
to supply all needs, and as sturdy beggars made police measures
necessary, the machinery of the state was gradually called into
requisition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Mendi-
cants were ordered to stay in the bounds of their own native
parishes, where they were known and had relatives, and work-
houses for compulsory labor were erected.

In 1788 each parish was authorized to refuse settlement to a
person unable to support himself by work, and this law was
valid until 1847. ^ residence of three years would confer the
right to settlement and relief.

A. Legislation. — The present poor law of Sweden was enacted
June 4, 1871, and has been amended at intervals since, and is
based essentially on the principles of earlier legislation.

The present law of Norway was enacted in 1863, which modi-
fied the law of 1845, especially in the direction of discouraging
the belief that the poor had a legal claim to relief which had
increased the burden so greatly as to excite deep concern.

Right of Settlement (in Sweden and Norway, — the points in
common in the two countries being stated together). — In both
Sweden and Norway the obligation to give relief rests on the
communes. The principle of freedom of travel for all citizens
has been recognized in Norway for centuries ; in Sweden the poor
law of 1847 conferred this right. It follows that the communes
have no means of protecting themselves against the burden of
immigrant paupers or of feeble persons liable to become depen-

The citizen may enjoy an original settlement as an inheritance
from his parents; or, after his 15th year of age, may acquire a



settlement and rights to poor-relief in need. In Sweden settle-
ment may be acquired by registration in the place of residence,
with liability to taxation. If, by a residence of five years out-
side of the commune, a citizen loses his right to relief, the com-
mune which gives help may upon proof receive a subsidy from
the state to reimburse its expenditure. If a new resident be-
comes dependent within a year, or has received aid during the
year before he migrated, he retains his right to relief in the com-
mune of earlier residence.

In Norway the rule is different ; for there the right to relief
is acquired only by two years of uninterrupted residence in a
commune. The law of July 27, 1896, prevents an alien from
acquiring the right to settlement and relief. In Norway a citizen
loses his former settlement, not by mere absence from home for
a period, but by actually acquiring a new settlement. After a
certain age (in Sweden 60, in Norway 62 years) the place of set-
tlement cannot be lost and a new one acquired. The humane
provision of modern poor laws is embodied in these Scandina-
vian regulations, that the destitute person shall be relieved by
the community where he becomes disabled, helpless, or for any
reason dependent. If this commune is not the one on which he
has a claim he may be sent to the place of his legal settlement
which must bear the cost of transportation. The national ad-
ministration is called upon to repay a commune for relief given
to a foreigner, and alien paupers may be returned to their own

Disputes Between Poor-Relief Officials. — In Norway these
may be settled by the ecclesiastical ministry or by resort to
courts. Sweden provides a superior board of administration and
has a chamber of justice where such dififerences may be adjusted.

Relatives. — In the administration of relief the general prin-
ciple is observed that the nearest relative must support as far
as possible. Parents, children, husband and wife (in Sweden, the
husband) are bound to relieve. Also in Sweden the master of
a household must aid indigent servants, workmen and their wives,
and the minor children living in the house, — a relic of patriarchal
times. In Norway the master of a house is required only to care
for his servants during sickness of brief duration.

In Sweden the Jews are required to aid their co-religionists.



Seamen and their families are aided by the "shipping boards,"
whose funds are furnished from ship taxes levied for the purpose.

In Norway the miners are required to establish their own
poor districts ; and other large industrial establishments are per-
mitted to do the same. The duty of the public to relieve extends,
in Sweden, to dependent children, aged invalids or persons other-
wise unable to labor. In Norway orphans and homeless chil-
dren, the insane, the aged, the defective and the sick when the
board thinks it necessary are to have aid. A right to relief can-
not be maintained by suit in the courts.

State Subsidies to Relief. — In the case of indigent soldiers or
foreigners, or when the legal settlement is unknown, the burden
of relief is taken from the commune and borne by the state treas-
ury. By the law of June 27, 1891, in Norway, in rural districts
the cost of caring for the insane who are indigent is borne, four-
tenths by the state and six-tenths by the province.

Areas of Administration. — In Sweden the communes are the
relief districts, while in Norway the communes may be divided
into several districts, each one corresponding to a church parish.
In both countries, however, for purposes of assigning the burden
of taxes, the poor district may be divided into smaller areas.
Each commune is responsible for all who gain settlement within
its borders and cannot transfer the burden to another.

Organs of Administration. — In Sweden the communal board,
which is the seat of authority, may establish a poor commission
of at least three members. In cities the various communes form
relief boards of at least five members. The parish pastor or his
representative has a voice.

In Norway each district has its poor commission, which con-
sists of the local pastor and persons chosen by the council of
the commune, and this body chooses its own president. In the
cities a magistrate usually acts as president. The council of the
commune rules the budget, but the poor commission administers
the relief and carries out the regulations of the commune. In
order to secure direct and individual treatment a commissioner
is often appointed for each of several sub-districts, so that he
may be in neighborly contact with the families to be assisted.
Attempts to introduce the German municipal ("Elberf'^ld") sys-
tem have thus far not been very successful; but one feature of



that system is accepted, — any citizen may be required to act as
a relieving officer without pay. The communal officer may also
appoint paid officers.

Taxation and Funds for Relief. — First of all the income of an-
cient endowments is drawn upon ; and there are revenues from
fines and gifts. When these sources are exhausted both Norway
and Sweden resort to taxation.

In Sweden there is a head tax, and a part of the communal
tax is added if necessary.

In Norway (regulation of 1882), in case the commune is
itself a poor district, no special poor rate is levied, and the gen-
eral fund is used. The relief may be given by citizens in goods
or in boarding the dependent, and the value of such relief is de-
ducted from their taxes ; if the value is more than their tax the
difference is repaid.

One source of income is the repayment of the expenditures
for aid. When the indigent person becomes able to return to
the commune what he has received he is required to do so, — in
Norway after the 15th year of his age. In Norway the commune
becomes a legal heir to the property of inmates of poorhouses
and hospitals, when there are no intestate or testamentary heirs,
and this even before the state. In Sweden the poor administra-
tion has paternal power over dependents and the boards are au-
thorized to require the able-bodied to work. In Norway only
supervisory power is given the boards, and guardians may be
appointed on request of the board.

Methods of Poor-Relief. — In both countries the communes are
generally left free to fix their own methods.

The Boarding-out of Paupers. — This system comes from former
ages and is particularly well adapted to the social conditions of
the rural regions of Norway, although it is not unknown in other
Scandinavian countries. In Norway, where the population is
homogeneous and scattered, and the erection and maintenance of
institutions would be a heavy burden, the quartering of de-
pendents on families is accepted as a duty. Sick, defective and
aged paupers may be sent to board with a farmer for a whole
year or more. A modified method is to send the pauper around
in a circuit of farms for a shorter period, but care is taken that
no more moving is required than is necessary. The commis-


sioners of the poor exercise supervision over the arrangement,
and if the indigent person is not properly treated he may be
reheved at cost of the responsible farmer. Not only small chil-
dren but also invalids, and the insane who cannot wait on them-
selves, are placed in charge of selected families who will give to
them suitable attention and sympathetic care.

As the modern economic methods displace patriarchal tradi-
tions, and payments in money are substituted for barter and ex-
change of commodities and services, the boarding system will
be superseded. It is actually diminishing in extent of applica-
tion. In 1866. 10.114 persons were thus relieved; in 1885, 4,496,
and in 1894, only 2.610; or 6 per 1,000 population in 1866 (or 7.1
per cent, of population in the country, where alone the custom
continues) ; 1885, 2.3 (and 2.9) per 1,000; and 1894, 1.2 (1.7) per
1,000. In comparison with the number of paupers in the whole
kingdom the boarders in 1866 were 14.8 per cent. (18.8 in the
country) ; 1885, ^-7 P^^ cent (9.7) ; and in 1894, 3.2 per cent. (4.9).

Indoor Relief. — Indoor relief in poorhouses is more general in
Sweden than in Norway. In 1895 Sweden had 5,397 institutions
for this purpose (1,586 poorhouses, 214 poor farmers, 38 work-
houses, 16 places for children, and 3,543 small "poor rooms") ;
and at that date 44,404 persons, or 17.3 per cent, of all assisted
persons were cared for (of whom 9,862, or 3.8 per cent., were in
the small "poor rooms," and 34,542, or 13.5 per cent., were in
other establishments). In hospitals were 6,477 persons, or 2.5
per cent, of those assisted.

In Norway in 1894 the paupers in poorhouses were only 2,390,
or 3 per cent, of those assisted. Paupers can be sent to insti-
tutions only in exceptional cases.

Poor farms are owned by the communes in both Sweden and
Norway and there is a tendency to enlarge the scope of assistance
by means of agricultural labor. Sweden, in 1895, had 214 poor
farms, while the number in Norway was much smaller.

In Norway idleness and neglect to support a family is pun-
ished by imprisonment and labor in a workhouse.

Statistics of Poor-Relief. — The number of paupers is relatively
large. Under "direct charges" neither the wives of pauper men
nor minor children are included.


Sweden (1895)
Direct charges

In the rural districts 110,885 (2.8% of population)

In the cities 46,804 (4-8% " " )

In the kingdom, total 157,689 (3.2% " " )

All paupers

In rural districts 170,148 (4.3% " " )

In cities 86,447 (8.7% " " )

In the kingdom, total 256,595 (5.2% " " )

Direct charges

In the rural districts (1894) 53,365 ( 3.5% of population)

(1890) 110.809 ( 7.2%

In cities (1894) 27,384 ( 5.4%

(1890) 54,807 (11.7%

In kingdom (1894) 80,749 ( 3.9%

(1890) 165,538 ( 8.3%

So far as we can trust the older statistics it appears that the
paupers per hundred in the last 30 years have diminished in
Norway and increased in Sweden.

The entire expenditure of local poor-relief in Sweden in 1895
was 12,169,000 and the average expense for each pauper 47.73 kr.
(including all direct charges and others) : in rural districts 44.39
kr. and in cities 54.25 kr. The average has risen: in 1881 it was
37.5 kr. (31. 1 kr. in rural districts and 58.7 kr. in cities).

The cost for each direct charge in 1895 was about yy kr. per

The poor-relief burden in comparison with the population
To each inhabitant 1886 1895

Of the kingdom i . 96 kr. 2 . 47 kr.

Of the rural districts i .44 " 2. 16 "

Of the city 4.42 " 5.31 "

which indicate considerable increase.

In Norway:
The entire cost of local relief and the average cost for each


1873 4,632,208 kr. 34.0 kr.

1878 5.601,870 " 43-0 "

1885 5,813438 " 38.7 "

1890 6,163,508 " 37.2 "

In 1890 the average cost in the rural district was 32.7 kr. and
in the cities 47.6 kr. For each direct charge, 1890, 84 kr. and
1894, 85 kr.

The cost per inhabitant in Norway:

1885 1894

Of the kingdom 3 . o kr. 3 • 4 kr.

Of rural districts 2.2" 2.4"

Of cities 5.7 " 5.9 "

Norway — Statistics of 1899:^

Rural communes : Number of heads of families (or single
persons) aided, 50,867, to be repaid 3,363. Persons assisted out-
side of comune, 3,682. At charge of commune, 51,186.

Number of persons assisted directly :

(a) Not having received other aid than gratuitous support
at home or hospital, 6,187.

(b) Assisted for the first time, 5,830.

Total expenditures, 4,086,335 kr. ; per head of family (or single
person) assisted, 80 kr.

Urban communes : Number of heads of families or single
persons aided, 29,863.

To be repaid 4,821

Aided out of commune 2,195

At charge of commune 27,237

Number assisted directly:

(0) Not having received other than aid at home or in hos-
pital, 3,790.

(b) Aided first time, 5,152.

{Poor-relief in proper sense 2,392,127 kr.
Sick-relief 1,255,943 "
Other costs 920,145 "

Total 4,568,215 kr.

^ Statistisk Aarbog lor Kongeriget Norge, 1902, pp. 106-107.



Total net expenditures, 3,577,444 kr. ; per head of family (or
single person), 131 kr.

For Kingdom of Norway, 1899 :

Number assisted 80,730

To repay 4,821

Aided out of commune 2,195

At charge of commune 27,237

Directly aided:

(a) At home or hospital 9»977

(b) First aid 10,982


{Poor-relief in proper sense 5,270,482 kr.
Sick-relief 2,327,404 "
Other costs 1,656,873 "

Total 9»254,759 kr.

In goods. ... 170,701 "

Total net expenditures, 7.663,779 kr. ; average per head of
family (or single person) aided, 98 kr.

G. Vagrants, Etc. — In Sweden, and to some extent in Norway,
the poor farms help wandering dependents by furnishing shelter
and food in return for labor, under control of the authorities.

H. Medical Relief. — In Norway about 60 per cent, of cases of
dependence are due to illness of the breadwinner or the family ;
10 to II per cent, to old age; 1.5 per cent, to drink. From 40 to
45 per cent, of aid is given in medical care and nursing, and about
30 per cent, in cash. These figures show the relative importance
of this form of help.

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 37 of 73)