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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tional cases. Only temporary aid is granted those domiciled out-
side the city. Permanent relief is limited to residents of Copen-
hagen or those who should be supported in the city. It is ac-
corded for one or two years at a time, but may run longer, and
even be made for life, if it is evident that the person will always
need aid. It is given to families no longer than the first com-
munion of one of their children. It may cease on betterment of
conditions. As in preceding cases a normal rate is furnished for
adjusting this relief. For this purpose the first class receives
four couronnes ($14.00) per month, and includes married or
unmarried women and widows with two to three children, and
families (man and wife) with four children. The second class
receives 6 couronnes ($21.00) per month and includes women and
widows with four or more children, and families (man and wife)
with four or more children. Fixed relief to single persons in


regard to age grants $10.50 per month to those 60 to 64 years of
age; $14.00 to those 65 to 69; $17.50 to those over 70. Without
regard to age upon certificate of the physician and advice of dis-
trict overseer persons who cannot earn a HveHhood but do not
require special care are granted up to $24.50 per month. Imbe-
ciles, blind, epileptics, paralytics, apoplectics and similar persons
may receive $35.00 per month. Childless couples receive the
same aid as single persons. Bread may be added to the aid
of those receiving under $21.00 per month, or the equivalent in
cash. Supplemental aid in kind, clothing, literature, etc., may
be added. Supplemental aid to the feeble, to the aged poor with-
out family, or to those couples who are not able to work and
are without homes with children, or others who have a right to
be placed in a general hospital, may be granted, making the total
fixed relief as much as $35.00 to $42.00 per month for single per-
sons and $60.00 to $70.00 per month for couples. Defectives
under exceptional cases may receive further aid.

All who receive public aid are under the control and surveil-
lance of the district chief, who aids and advises kindly and firmly
for better domestic, economic and moral conditions.

Extent. — The extent of public relief can be given in terms of
numbers. Since reports indicate that the poor are well cared
for the numbers will also indicate approximately the extent of
need. In 1890 those given fixed relief in their homes were 5,904;
temporary relief in homes, 1,697 ^o^ Copenhagen alone. In 1898
the total number relieved in Copenhagen by public aid was 5,548,
of which 3,078 were for fixed relief, 1,877 ^^^ temporary and 592
sick in homes. The total number aided in Copenhagen has de-
creased in proportion to the population since 1890, although the
actual decrease is partly accounted for by the assignment of relief
of aged to another agency. No data occur for relief in homes
outside Copenhagen. It must necessarily be a small part of
relief work, however, since the total city population outside of
Denmark is much less than that of Copenhagen alone and rural
relief is mostly of the indoor sort.

C. Private Charity. — It is difficult to speak of private chari-
table organizations since compulsory state aid has rendered them
largely functionless.^ Still there are numerous charitable estab-

' In 1870 Strochy notes that only one or two charity organizations existed


lishments founded by private citizens or supported by voluntary
contributions; infant asylums, public refectories for the poor,
hospitals for the aged and infirm, pious foundations of all kinds
for persons in need of them, family foundations and canonicates
for noble ladies. Among workingmen's associations are numer-
ous societies for mutual aid, sickness and burial funds, aid and
relief funds, etc. To numerically measure this branch of relief
work in Denmark is impossible, since no system of reporting
such data is organized. In Copenhagen in 1900 there were 56
charitable institutions with 1,7/1 free inmates and about 1,200
low pay inmates ; a few legacy-supported institutions with income
exceeding 1,000,000 kroner ($250,000) ; and a multitude of benefit
societies expending about the same amount.^


Aids. — The great extension of public aid diminishes the need of
private organized charity. Cooperation and coordination of
public and private aid, therefore, occurs chiefly between public
service and mere individual societies and establishments. When
indigents first apply to the district chief in Copenhagen for aid,
he seeks to find means of lessening public aid. Ordinarily he
first sends to the benefit societies which are located near, espe-
cially to the ''Aid Society of Copenhagen." Public aid frequently
assists the societies and furnishes them the facts necessary to
enable them to determine the condition of the poor. Individuals
without work are sent to the Salvation Army Bureau of Employ-
ment and to the Asylum of Employment of Copenhagen. Par-
ticularly in assistance of sick cases, the applicants without means
of help are sent gratuitously to Frederick Hospital, Copenhagen,
upon certificate of the district physician and overseer.

F. Indoor Relief. — Indoor relief in Denmark is granted in
poorhouses, almshouses and workhouses and elsewhere. Aged

outside of Copenhagen. In the suburb Fredericksberg, there was one which di-
vided that city into 10 districts, investigated and relieved cases and carried on its
work by private subscriptions. In Copenhagen at that time nine private societies
operated, by districts, granting small loans, cash, bread, soup and other food,
tickets, clothing, etc., besides furnishing medical help. Their joint incomes was
about $25,000.

^The Revue Philanthropique, tome XIV, pp. 161 and 325, gives a list and
description of the benevolent societies and trusts of Denmark.


and infirm persons would properly be sent to the poorhouse,
able-bodied single poor to the workhouse, bad characters to the
correctional workhouse. The law of 1683 prescribed a poorhouse
for each parish. The latest obtainable figures (1879) gave the
county communes 1,631 of such establishments with ca. 10,400
inmates. Strochy, who investigated charity work in Den-
mark in 1870, reported that these establishments were generally
defective in arrangement. Workhouses or workyards exist in
all communes and there are many larger joint establishments
built by two or more communes. Of this latter sort there were
270 in 1879, chiefly of recent establishment with room for 10,400
inmates, but containing only about 5,000 to 6,000 transients.
Correctional workhouses are county establishments, but not all
counties have them. Paupers guilty of misdemeanors are sent
thither, except men with families. The families of the latter
would then come on the public for aid. The labor is according
to a code. Parishes not having sufficient workhouse room may
gain permit to use the county house. Oakum picking, weaving,
mat and broom making indoors, and stone breaking, etc., out of
doors are carried on. Paupers follow their trades if possible. In
Copenhagen exists the great Workhouse of Ladegood. As far
back as 1870 it contained in the correctional department over
4,000 persons, more than three-fourths of whom were males.
The department for the homeless had 133 persons. Families may
live together there two weeks ; then they are separated. Profits
from the industrial work amounted to over $25,000. In 1890 in
Copenhagen statistics of public relief give the number as aided
in all institutions of the city at 1,809 permanently assisted and
1,221 who received temporary aid. Besides the correctional insti-
tution above cited there are three ordinary workhouses which
contained 382 persons at the end of 1870.

G. Vagrants, Etc. — The general law makes beggars liable
to imprisonment for 15 days with bread and water. Vagrants
are punishable by 30 days' imprisonment with the same fare.
Children under 15 cannot be legally punished, but conniving
parents may be. Vagrants with no means of livelihood may be
sent to their residence parish. Copenhagen enforces these rules
very strictly, but much tolerance of local beggars exists in smaller
places. Foreigners in Denmark conform to the five years rule



for settlement. Without settlement they receive local relief.
Paupers from other lands are chargeable to their country's con-
suls for local support given through the legitimate channels.

H. Medical Relief. — Medical aid and that of the midwife
are not considered poor law relief. It is first sought then (in
Copenhagen) to procure such relief through establishments of
private charity. When aid to the sick is granted it is given
both in homes and hospitals. In homes it consists in medicine,
nourishment and other dietetical remedies, broths, objects nec-
essary for the sick, such as bandages, glasses, crutches, etc.,
further supplementary food, if the physician deems it necessary
to reach the cause of the disease, and attendance of the sick given
by a nurse engaged by the public relief for such purpose. The
communal physician has charge of sick relief along with the dis-
trict chief. Certain pharmacists cooperate by arrangement. The
physician may prescribe wine and white bread. Baths are pro-
vided in St. John's Hospital. The monthly card system is used
for the temporary sick, presented by the patient and renewed at
the end of each month. Chronic cases may extend one year.
The cards contain exact information as to name and residence.
On each visit to the doctor the card is presented. It is usually
received by the applicant after right of domicile is established.
The card is good for but three days in case of urgency aid granted
by the chief or doctor. The sick domiciled in Copenhagen re-
ceive black and others red cards. All ordinances and rules touch-
ing the sick are printed on paper of corresponding colors. The
doctor receives the card upon visits to patients in their homes
and turns it in when the case is disposed of in any way. Upon
the doctor's prescription as urgent the district chief accords aid
at once. Otherwise it is given by the section.

J. Defectives. — Various institutions for the education of
defectives exist. They are either national or subsidized and
under the control of the minister of instruction. For the blind
a school exists at Copenhagen large enough for the whole nation.
It is coeducational and contains about loo children from 8 to i8,
who are boarded and lodged. Roman and Braille letters, com-
mon branches, physical sciences, geometry, drawing, singing,
instrumental music and m.anual training are taught. Gymnastics
and natation are emphasized. Instruction is furnished in skilled


handwork suitable to the sexes. Congenital deaf-mutes are sent
to the Royal Institute at Frederica. Others who are familiar
with methods of speech are taught at State or communal expense
in the Keller institution, Copenhagen. Those capable of instruc-
tion by the sign method go to a third institution. The school
at Frederica is thoroughly modern. The method of articulation
is used. All students eventually become day students, living in
city families for experience and social contact. The common
branches, gymnastics and manual training are chiefly taught. It
is coeducational. The other schools resemble it in program and
method. The Keller institution, formerly philanthropically
founded by Keller, now subsidized by the government and fur-
nished scholarships, receives the feeble-minded. In 1887, the
Keller institutions (asylum, hospitals and educational) received
170 deaf-mutes and 459 feeble-minded. Two hundred and thirty-
one of them are being educated or tested, — 154 boarders, yj day
pupils. The preparatory school tests them. If not educatable
they are sent among the incurables. If educatable they go to the
practice school and later, if capable of higher useful education,
to that of theory. The basic principle is to teach only what is
within the capacity of the pupil. Save for gymnastics, manual
training, etc., the theory school is about equivalent to the Ameri-
can 8th grade. The Keller school is coeducational. It has the
full confidence of citizens of Denmark. Two-thirds of the chil-
dren sent there are reclaimed to a useful life.

As the department of instruction does not extend its aid to
children under 7, institutions have been provided by the society
for the establishment of asylums. There are a number of such
asylums for children, several of which are at Odense. The latter
at any rate are supervised by municipal authorities. Each build-
ing is provided with suitably equipped school rooms, play rooms,
courtyards for recreation and kitchen. Singing, skilled handi-
work such as knitting, folding cloth, weaving, reading and writ-
ing for the larger children, singing Psalms, and object lessons
constitute the instruction given by lady members of the society.
A directress presides over individual asylums.

K. Children. — In Copenhagen the district chief is charged
by the law with the supervision of children. He is to take care
that they are not neglected, treated badly, nor habituated to



mendicancy. In such cases, after remonstrance with parents, he
shall report to the section that it may take necessary measures.
Children may be placed out with foster-parents, in the house of
reception of the St. John institution, or aided in homes. In these
cases where aid is given normal schedules are provided. Great
care is preserved in selecting the foster-parents. In case of tem-
porary separation of parents from children in the home a woman
may be engaged to care for them there. Permanent aid is given
when their parents are dead, have left the country, or are un-
balanced physically or morally. Ordinarily children are placed
in the country with particular persons instead of in the care of
asylum wards. This is accomplished through the benevolent
assistance of pastors, teachers, physicians, etc., who become
responsible for the control of the children. Beyond this the
third section conducts regular inspections. Those charging
themselves with the control of children numbered 461 in 1898.
These also tried to locate young persons in service or apprentice-
ship outside the city. In 1898 the number of dependent children
charged to Copenhagen were 38, to the country 655. All poor
children have the privilege of attending free schools in city and
country. These schools are reported to be especially good in
Copenhagen. In 1895 about 24,000 attended them as against
11,300 in commune pay schools. In institutions where there are
children as well as worthy aged and infirm, the incompatible,
lazy, intemperate and other disorderly indigent are excluded

There is one richly endowed institution for helpless and de-
serted girls. It was founded in 1874 by the Countess Danne.
The poorer classes are especially eligible. About 400 children
attend. They are admitted from 2 to 4 years of age, receive
board and education and are trained especially for domestic

M. Preventive Work. — Preventive work in Denmark is in-
direct and direct. The indirect comes in the fostering of such
educational agencies as awaken enterprise, independence and
moral will. Ordinary schools are provided and the law enforces
attendance from 7 to 14. Religious instruction is an important
element in the schools. The state gives direct aid to indigent
pupils ; also to teachers for aid and improvement. It subsidizes
peasants' and people's high schools. These, founded by Bishop


Grundtvig, have of late developed remarkably. Into these are
gathered mature men from all ranks in winter and women in
summer. Tuition and living is made cheap and frequently aid
given. The teaching is oral, and its matter is mostly historic
and whatever will enliven and awaken. Patriotic songs are sung.
Love of country is fostered. The best minds from these schools
saved the country from industrial stagnation and poverty twice
since 1870 by making the needed adjustments. At the end of
the eighteenth century Denmark was one of the poorest coun-
tries of Europe. It is now one of the richest and the intellectual
leader of the Scandinavian countries. It is essentially an agri-
cultural nation. Leading agriculturists explain the high organiz-
ing and cooperative ability of farmers as due to two causes: (i)
the education of the peasantry as already explained, and, (2)
the forced distribution of land among small farmers, since the
law prevents consolidation of farms and encourages division. In
addition to the schools mentioned manual and industrial schools
are liberally provided. Direct prevention is chiefly embodied in
relief of the aged poor, workingmen's insurance, state railway
pensions and teachers' pensions.

The Aged Poor-Relief Law was passed in 1891. By it aid to
the aged poor is not considered poor-relief. The recipient must
be free from certain criminal convictions, from debt or involving
others in it, must be 60 years old and have lived in Denmark dur-
ing the past 10 years, and not have received poor-relief. Aid
consists of necessaries in health and illness and may be given in
kind, cash or in institutions (not in poorhouses), ceases on crimi-
nality or marriage, and the amount is decided by the residence
commune with right to appeal. The residence community is
obligated for the amount of relief to three-fourths compensation
from the commune in which the indigent is entitled to relief.
The state levies a fund for the purpose from which the commune
may receive one-half of its expenditure for the aged. In case
of shortage each commune shares the rate.

This law has been variously estimated. Geoffrey Drage, in
the Fortnightly Review (London, October, 1899), writes that his
information, gained from "the best known statistician of Den-
mark," supports the view that it is bad in results, because guard-
ians never withdraw the support when once given, since the state


pays one-half of this while the commune would pay the whole
of poor-relief; that employes' benefit funds are broken up, friend-
ly societies plunged into difficulties, and money in savings banks
is withdrawn because of certain aid in old age. Further the poor
refuse to make provision for old age, children who are able refuse
to support their parents and ties between them as between em-
ployer and employe are strained. On the other hand, C. H. D'E.
Leppington (Charity Organization Review, May, 1897) holds
that it is generally upheld by poor law administrators. It suc-
ceeds in reducing pauperism since receipt of poor-relief disquali-
fies for old age pension. Schooling, writing in 1901, pronounces
it a success. The self-help principle is chiefly applied in Den-
mark. A large number of institutions have been established.
One thousand sick benefit associations existed in 1885 with 164,-
000 members. Up to 1893 the government had done little besides
appointing savings bank inspectors, although an investigating
committee in 1888 indicated that private associations tended to
insure the strong instead of the weak. Suggestions were made
for legalizing qualified compulsory insurance. Denmark has the
Workmen's Compensation Law, enacted since 1898, in line with
the general principles of the laws adopted by the great nations
of Europe, such as Germany.

Teachers' Pensions. — Every appointed teacher after ten years
of service receives a pension upon disability to work equal to half
his salary. After twenty years, equal to two-thirds of it. Teach-
ers' widows receive but one-eighth the amount of the salary, but
the government requires some insurance provision to have been
made. In secondary schools one-tenth of the salary may be used
after two years' service, and the maximum pension of two-thirds
the salary at the 70th year of age.

Raihvay Pensions. — The state owns 75 per cent, of the railways
and employs 7,103 persons. Salaries are increased every five
years, according to class. After ten years' continuous service
those retired on account of age, poor health, etc., may have a
pension. Of the three classes, 5 per cent, is deducted in the first,
2J/2 per cent, in the second, and nothing in the lowest paid class
from wages to form a pension fund. The percentage is based
on salaries and all perquisites. On accident which causes dis-
charge the employe receives two-thirds, one-half or one-third


part of salary for pension, according to class. He may demand
a pension at 70 after ten years' of continuous service. The
widow receives one-third of husband's salary, children under 18
eventually not more than one-half of the widow's pension. Or-
phans eventually receive one-third of the father's wage as pen-
sion. A widow receives no pension if her husband was over 60
at marriage or married him on his deathbed, or if divorced before
his death. It ceases upon her marriage.

Strikes are unknown. Employes seem satisfied. Applicants
for positions are examined. Most conductors are soldiers dis-
charged upon expiration of the required term with good char-

Workingmen's Building Society. — Such a society was founded
in Copenhagen in 1865 with 200 members. In 1895 there were
about 17,000 members. Up to 1891, 831 houses had been built
at a cost of $1,659,625.11. The total population housed is 7,000.
Shares may be subscribed for and paid for in weekly payments.
After six months' membership and payment in dues of $5.36
members may draw houses by lot. Purchasers pay 6J/2 per cent,
yearly installments and 4 per cent, interest. Deeds are given at
the end of ten years. Annual profits to the society equal 4 per
cent. All above a 10 per cent, reserve fund is divided among
members of six months' standing. It carries a relief fund from
extraordinary receipts and donations for loans to house owners,
especially widows. The houses are mostly two-story, five-room,

An association of Denmark, at Copenhagen, seeks to build
cheap and healthful dwellings for the poorer classes. In 1891
it housed 2,505. In has 360 one-room, 324 two-room, and 48
three-room tenements. Rent is low. It has no commercial object.

Housing of Aged Poor. — Large cities provide well equipped
houses for the aged poor, such as the new one organized under
the direction of Herr Jacobi, chief of the poor department, Copen-
hagen. The small ones are even more attractive, as the one at
Fredericksburg, the joint property of three villages. These are
provided apart from the paupers. Some communes prefer to
have their own houses for the purpose.

The total extent of poor-relief in Denmark may be summar-
ized. In Copenhagen in 1890 the total number receiving public


relief was 10,631 or 3.39 per cent, of the population. There was
expended 1,357,000 kroner (ca. $340,000). The total expendi-
tures for the cities outside Copenhagen in the same year was
1,023,000 kroner (ca. ^256,000). That for the country was 5,034,-
000 kroner (ca. $1,257,000). Total for the kingdam, 7,464,000
kroner (ca. $1,866,000). In the same year there were 1,822
in prisons, 3,753 defectives, 39,014 public paupers and 57,999 pen-
sioners in the kingdom. For the last item about $868,000 was
expended. The total public and private expenditure in Copen-
hagen in 1901 was estimated at about one and one-half million
dollars. Income for public relief is almost wholly raised as all
other public funds. There are some specific poor rate items or
form of taxes in Copenhagen.

Experiments, Criticisms, Reforms. — Two chief results which
have been worked out as the result of long testing are: (i) sal-
aried system of public poor-relief. All officers are paid except
certain district assistants of the overseer. The voluntary or
rather unsalaried appointive system proved deficient in that
thorough investigations would not be made for various apparent
reasons ; and not only was there a relative decrease of relief offi-
cers to the population but an actual decrease of almost one-half.
The government commission of 1867 criticised this severely; (2)
old age relief. The consensus of opinion seems to be that this
latter is a success. Financially it has worked well. Copenhagen
saves about 150,000 kroner yearly, the other cities 100,000 kroner,
and in the country there is no gain or loss. Another item the com-
mission of 1867 severely criticised was the lack of systematic

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 39 of 73)