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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their gifts ; as when a wealthy family loses a child by diphtheria and
founds a hospital for treating contagious diseases, or a member of a
craft leaves an endowment for indigent persons of the same calling.
Even such considerations as pride, desire to display wealth and secure
royal notice and titles may influence the gifts. Men and women call
themselves together to play cards and drink for "sweet charity," and
on the same ground occasionally prolong their pleasure longer than
is good for them. Places of amusement advertise otherwise unattrac-
tive entertainments using as bait the promise to give a per cent, of
the receipts to a hospital or a fund to help crippled soldiers.

On the other hand, when extraordinary demands are made, for
which there is no fund ready, the appeal to benevolent citizens is
natural and wise ; as when a pest invades the land, or a conflagration,
or a flood destroys much property and renders many homeless and

The custom of collecting cast-off clothing, waste paper, illustrated
magazines for sale or for use by the poor is worthy of commendation.
The inmates of hospitals and almshouses are cheered by the stories
and pictures furnished by these means.

Some of the facts about private charity in Germany may best be
mentioned under the heads of special forms of beneficence.

Endowed Charities. — The dangers of endowed charities are recog-
nized by competent German writers : they are liable to become useless
or even injurious, and the original giver being dead it is difficult to
secure a change of direction of income. The civil code permits a
charitable endowment to be abolished or changed only when the
original purpose can no longer be fulfilled or when the effects of its
continuance is socially harmful. The primary purpose must be re-
garded as far as possible. The ancient custom of leaving legacies
for the poor is still common among the wealthy, but the conditions
named in wills are not always reasonable or based on knowledge of
the needs of the poor and the best methods of helping them.

Hamburg in 1895, from incomes of endowments, gave out a total
of 1,258,830 marks to 53,799 recipients, which indicates a capital of
30-40 million marks. In Berlin the board of endowments controls
about 200 foundations with about thirteen million marks, besides real
estate. Bavaria, in a recent report, showed 18,655 funds of the value
of 450 million marks.

Societies for Benevolent Work. — To relieve all forms of misery,


free associations are founded, and many citizens belong- as contrib-
utors to several of these at one time. Statistics are difficult to ob-
tain. In Bavaria, 464 societies were reported, chiefly in cities. Some
of the German associations are confessional, some inter-denomina-
tional and others quite free from church connections. There are
many women's societies, that of Baden, for example, which has 237
branches in different parts of the country devoted to all kinds of
philanthropic effort. In small towns the aims of a society are less
specialized than in the cities. The regular form of organization is
a board of control and a general assembly of members, and in large
places an administrative committee is frequently chosen by the board.
The members may be contributors or active workers. Personal ser-
vice is most difficult to secure. When the business of the society is
very large, it is thought advisable to employ agents on salary so as to
control the continuous service of competent administrators of the

Private charity has increased in Bavaria. In 1881 there were 299
societies; in 1900, 542. The number of persons aided rose from
43,693 to 95,354; and the expenditures from 749,242 M. to 1,405,689
M. ; the permanent funds from 2,818,567 M. to 6,756,548 M. The
increased activity of private societies is especially noteworthy in the
care of children. The institutions of this kind increased from 144 to
221, and the funds from 500,000 M. to 1,400,000 M. ; the increase
being chiefly in cities.^

D. Ecclesiastical Charity. — From the earliest times since
Christianity gained influence with German peoples church charity has
had a continuous history. In recent years there is a very strong
effort on the part of the churches of different confessions to organize
relief in each congregation for their own members. Those indigent
persons who are not attached to a parish must be helped by public
agencies, but the two systems work side by side in the same city, and
there is a field for each.

Catholic Charity. — The Catholic clergy have org-anized their
system of relief in a very efficient manner. The chief parish organi-
zation is the St. Vincent of Paul Society, first established in Paris in
1833 by Frederick Ozanam, and rapidly extended to other countries.
The central direction still remains in Paris, but many branches exist
in various parts of Germany. In the region about Cologne and

* Zeit. f. d. Armen., 1903, p. 143.



under the archbishop of that city there were some years since enu-
merated 3,330,000 CathoHcs, 162 societies with 3,000 members. The
members meet once a week. For each needy family two visitors are
appointed and they are required to report in the meetings. Generally
relief is given in commodities, tools for work, and securing employ-
ment. The visitors take great pains to encourage those who have
fallen into distress, and, perhaps, into evil habits, to rise and make an
effort to sustain themselves. There are also societies for women, as
that of St. Elizabeth ; but they are not so strong and they are not
connected with each other in a system.

Among the regular orders, chiefly engaged in caring for the poor
and the sick, the women are more numerous, and the most celebrated
of these orders is the Sisters of Mercy, founded by Vincent of Paul
in 1633. Similar in spirit are the Sisters of St. Borromeo, the Ser-
vants of Christ, the Franciscan Sisters, the Augustin Sisters, the
Order of Elizabeth, and others. Members of these orders must pos-
sess certain qualifications of health and character and must serve a
very trying probation, before they are permitted to take the vows.
After this they give their entire life to the service and are supported
by the mother house in illness and old age. A sister superior admin-
isters the order, and an ecclesiastic is appointed adviser. Most of
the sisters are employed in institutions, but their activities are in many
fields. In the archdiocese of Cologne there are about 1,500 sisters in
152 hospitals and asylums, while about 600 in 125 communities are
active in poor relief for families. The total number of sisters in Ger-
many has been estimated at 20,000.

In the parish work the sisters assist in care of the poor and sick,
of infants in day nurseries, and children in homes, protective institu-
tions, and Sunday schools. They carry on rescue work for morally
imperilled girls. They often cooperate with the municipal officers of

In November, 1897, the Roman Catholics founded the "Charitas-
Verband fiir das katholische Deutschland," with central bureau at
Freiburg in Breisgau.^ Its purpose is to further unity of action in
the charitable works of the Catholics by means of conferences, inves-
tigations and publications. The president of this society cooperates
with other movements, as temperance societies, efforts to suppress

' Zeitschrift f. d. Armenwesen, February, 1903, p. 50. Charitas, 1900, Nos.
7 and 8.


traffic in girls, the national association to help consumptives, and the
international congress of public and private assistance.

Charities of the "Evangelical" (State) Church. — The state
churches have no convents or orders with perpetual vows, as the
Catholics have, but ever since the Reformation period have kept in
close connection with the civil commune. At first the church as such
was direct agent in raising the funds and administering relief in the

The Reformed churches differed from the Lutheran in that the
former had a diaconate for poor relief as an essential part of eccle-
siastical organization, while the Lutherans did not regard this as
required by divine authority. The recent movement to reestablish
the diaconate in Germany proceeded from the influence of the Re-
formed churches.

The Inner Mission in Germany. — This term covers the work of
many independent voluntary associations of members of the "Evan-
gelical" state church on behalf of the dependent, the feeble and the
anti-social elements of society. The movement called the Inner
Mission had many precursors but took its present form about 1848.
As we approach historically the Revolution of 1848, we discover the
signs of increasing social ferment. It was not merely that suffering,
poverty and crime were increasing, but that the public was more
sensitive to pain and wrong. The consciousness of a right to enjoy
the fruits of culture and civilization was awakened in ever wider
circles. The Reforms of Stein and Scharnhorst were telling upon
the people. Common schools were bringing peasant and artisan
within the rank of scholars' thoughts. Men called to the duty of
defending their country aspired to equality of opportunity under its
civil shield. Proletarians and agricultural laborers began to show
symptoms of that social ambition which afterwards produced social

In this period the "Great Industry" was developed. The policy
fostered by Frederick the Great, broken by the Napoleonic oppres-
sion, was taken up by Prussian rulers. A system of canals was
extended ; postal service was rapidly improving ; steamships plied
between Europe and America ; stories of the New World came back to
kindle and inflame ambitions and hopes. In some regions, especially
along the Rhine, the factory system was producing a special class of
wage-laborers, though not so early or so rapidly as in England.


The Revolution of 1848 which swept Europe did not leave Germany-
undisturbed. Berlin was for a short time under the control of a
mob. Riot and rebellion seemed to threaten property and govern-
ment. The propertied class were frightened. The uprising was
extinguished by military force, and a period of reaction began. Men
wtio knew the life of the laboring classes in cities like Hamburg and
Berlin were well acquainted with the wretchedness, vice, squalor, and
despair of their homes. The one man who, perhaps, saw most clearly
the extent and the sources of this misery was one who had been
quietly and earnestly working among the fallen and distressed since
his graduation from the university, — J. H. Wichern, founder and
director of the Rauhe Haus, a school for neglected children near

Biblical and historical criticism was making it impossible to
petrify the spirit in worship of the letter. Men discovered that vital
Christianity could be manifested in spite of wide doctrinal differences.
Kant and Fichte compelled theologians to become more intensely
ethical. De Wette demonstrated the permanent factors in changing
faiths. Schleiermacher, steeped in the devotional life of Herrnhut,
translator of Plato, scholar, ethical philosopher, and theologian,
"served as a bridge over which to pass from a region of barren nega-
tions to belief more accordant with the general faith of the church
than he himself cherished" (Fisher). Neander taught how to unite
learning, piety and humanity.

The more earnest men of the state church confessed that it had
lost influence with multitudes of the people. Too many pastors
waited for the poor to come to church and did not go out to seek
them. "Thousands remain without the word, without light and life."
"We have no parishes, only church congregations." At the earnest
request of some active men a conference was held at Wittenberg in
September, 1848, while the fright of the Revolution was fresh in all
minds. Men were appalled at the brutality and fierceness of the out-
break and the bitter hostility manifested toward the representatives
of religion. J. H. Wichern was the man for the hour. In an im-
passioned address he described the spiritual destitution of the home-
less classes, of the proletarians of cities, and the anti-social purposes
of the communists. He sketched the individual efforts already made
here and there to overtake the social need, to care for the children
and the poor, and to secure a regeneration in the inner life of the


state, church and society. Perhaps a single sentence has been au-
thentically reported : "May the Evangelical Church set upon this
work its seal and declare : the work of the Inner Mission is mine !
love belongs to me as well as faith." A committee was appointed to
formulate a plan. The conference adopted the report, and in the
following January the "Central Committee of the Inner Mission of
the German Evangelical Church" began its work. Bismarck (in
1847) h^d already said : "A state, if it would have an assured
permanence, if it would only justify its existence, when it is disputed,
must stand on a religious foundation." Thus a social policy for both
state and church was being formulated at the same time.

The movement of 1849 grew out of previous efforts, as : Zeller's
reform school (1820) ; Amalie Sieveking's pioneer care of the sick
and wounded by women (1831) ; the Sunday school and orphanage
work of Wichern at Hamburg; the deaconess mother-house of
Fliedner near Diisseldorf (1836) ; the prison society of the Rhine and
Westphalia; the Gustavus Adolphus Society; and many others.
Wichern issued a memorial in which he defined the Inner Mission to
be all the works of rescue which grow out of Christian faith and love
in response to social need. "The Inner Mission does not mean this
or that particular work, but the sum of labor which arises from loving
faith in Christ, and which seeks to renew within and without the con-
dition of those multitudes in Christendom upon whom has fallen the
power of manifold external and internal evils which spring directly
or indirectly from sin, so far as they are not reached by the usual
Christian offices with the means necessary to their renewal." No
form of evil or misery is to be neglected. No class is to be ignored.
No social agency is to be left unused. While Wichern is chiefly
occupied with the duty and labors of his own national church, his
survey covers both Catholic and Protestant enterprises in Europe and
America. He expressed the hope that Christians divided upon creeds
will find in practical efforts of benevolence a ground on which all can
agree. His appreciation of others is liberal and unstinted.

The Central Committee was a part of the original plan of
Wichern, and it continues to carry out his ideas. It has an office in
Berlin. Its functions are instruction, inspiration, council, and assist-
ance, but not legislation. It seldom conducts a benevolent enterprise
directly, yet its influence is widely felt. Traveling agents are main-
tained in various districts for the work of strengthening existing



efforts, of leading to an organization of new enterprises, and of se-
curing means for institutions. These agents go from church to
church, present the needs, interest pastors and congregations, and
take collections. Some of the institutions raise money by direct ap-
peals. Charitable works are often supported by a voluntary local so-
ciety of persons who are interested in a particular form of philan-
thropy. They raise the funds, administer the trust, appoint the offi-
cers, and are responsible for finances and methods. The institutions
are directly administered by persons who have the confidence of the
directors of the society.

German people have great respect for special training. They are
served by officials in schools, on railroads and in municipal affairs,
who have passed probations and examinations, and who belong to a
profession. This idea of expert service is carried into the Inner
Mission. The deaconesses are required to learn the art they are to
practice, as teaching, or nursing the sick. The Central Committee
bestows special attention upon provision for training the administra-
tive officers, and assistants. Schafer, one of- the representative men
the Inner Mission, speaks of the anticipations of the movement in
former ages, and divides the history into three periods : the begin-
nings (1780-1830), creative works (1830-1870), methodical develop-
ment (1870 to the present time).^

The works of the Inner Mission are classified by Schafer under
the following heads : spread of the Gospel, parish work, education
and training of children, education and protection of youth, protec-
tion of those in peril, rescue of the lost, care of the defective and
sick, contest with social evils and means of betterment.

Among the works of the Inner Mission which deserve special
notice in this place are the following: Hospices and homes for rest
are provided those who cannot afford to pay hotel rates or who wish
to escape from undesirable influences of cheap lodging houses. In
the care of little children the day nursery, sometimes conducted by
deaconesses, may be found in cities where working women are
obliged to leave their homes to earn part of the family support. In
Stuttgart, Cannstatt, Linden near Hanover, Altona and Schwerin
are good types of this institution. In most of the deaconess homes
one finds training for the work of schools for little children ( Warte-
schule, Kinderpftege, etc.), which are similar to the kindergartens of

^ Leitfaden der Inneren Mission, 4te Auflage, 1903.



Froebel. Schafer's criticism of the latter is significant ; that they
leave the children too little chance for free movement ; that the plays
are too artificial ; the songs barbarous and the religious teaching
vague. Orphans and neglected children are sometimes provided for
in asylums, but the general tendency is toward family care. In par-
ticular situations the institution is thought to be a desirable factor
in a system of relief. There are societies which establish agencies
for the placing of children in suitable homes and for watching over
their education until they are mature. In Darmstadt, Weimar, Heil-
bronn, Altona, Dresden and other places are found institutions for
sheltering and training boys in various industries out of school hours,
with the object of preserving them from the evils of idleness and
fitting them for earning their living. They are paid a little and
trained to lay aside savings.

Among the agencies of the Inner Mission for the education and
protection of young people may be mentioned the industrial schools
for girls, where they are taught household arts of sewing, darning,
mending. Girls of good reputation are trained for domestic service
in special schools ("Martha Schools") or in connection with institu-
tions where such young people are sheltered. Lodging houses are
established in many towns for girls seeking employment and in
danger of falling into the hands of unscrupulous agents of prosti-
tution. These homes act as bureaus of employment. In the neigh-
borhood of factories where young women are employed there are
boarding homes under Christian influences for those who are not
with their parents. And in a similar fashion provision is made for
home life for apprentices in trades.

Diflferent from the hospices are the lodgings for wanderers
(Herberge ziir Heimaf) of which there are about 450 in Germany
with 18,000 beds. There is a national organization which publishes
"Der Wanderer," and which seeks to regulate and improve the

Closely related to charity work and often connected with it are
the efiforts to care for emigrants, for those who travel in search of
employment, the seamen, and others who have no settled home. Here,
also, deserve to be mentioned the organized agencies for rescue of
the lost, morally imperilled children and youth, magdalene asylums,
inebriate asylums, workmen's colonies and stations of help (Ver-


pflegungsstationen). There are in Germany about twenty-nine
workingmen's colonies with places for 4,000 persons.

Philanthropic effort for prisoners and their families are fostered
by the Inner ^Mission.

The education, training- and relief of deaf and blind persons is
not entirely in the hands of state officials in Germany, and so the
voluntary associations of the Inner ^Mission find in this work a
considerable field of service. For adult blind this care takes the form
of agencies for securing employment, giving counsel and direction
and rendering material aid in times of destitution. Religious im-
pulses were felt in the establishment of agencies to help the feeble-
minded and the epileptic ; deacons and deaconesses of the Inner ^lis-
sion are active in many German institutions for this class of needy
persons. The famous "Colony of ]\Iercy"' at Bielefeld, founded by
Pastor Bodelschwingh, carries on this work on a large scale.

Other societies provide vacation colonies for children in the
country or at the seaside; establish schools for cripples, to restore
their health and teach them occupations.

Although German cities have an admirable public system of
individual treatment of needy families, already described, the church-
es find room and occasion for parish charity. It is claimed that the
private agency will look out the "poor who are ashamed to beg" and
not wait for them to apply in despair; that the encouragements of
fellowship and religion can be made a powerful factor in restoration ;
and that many special forms of assistance can be made to supplement
the legal relief which is necessarily nearly the same for all and cannot
discriminate as parish charity can do. The wisest leaders of public
and parish relief agree that all beneficent agencies should have a good
understanding with each other and proceed in their several ways
upon a common plan.

Parochial Organisation. — The conviction seems to be growing
that the direction of all charitable work of a regular congregation
should be under the control of its own officers ; that deaconesses, for
example, serving in a parish, shall be responsible to the pastor and
his council. The inconvenience of divided authority is seriously felt,
and efforts are made to come to an understanding with the orders
and associations which have central administration and send their
agents into various states and countries.

City mission societies in certain instances do much benevolent


work, and this is especially true of Berlin. In its 13th annual report,
1902, the Evangelisch-Kirchlicher Verein of Berlin, gave an account
of the work of its fifteen stations for caring for sick persons and of
the 118 sisters in their service. These nursed the sick of 3,379 fami-
lies, at a cost of 10,092 marks. A deason's home, with eight broth-
ers, gave 2,007 days' care to the sick and aided 1,075 other cases.^

Jezvish Charities have existed from ancient times. Many wealthy
Jews have provided both by gifts and endowments for the poor, the
sick, the orphan, the neglected children, and for the aged. Further
particulars about Jewish Charities in Europe are given in a special
chapter of this volume.

E. Cooperation of Public and Private Charity. On this
point Dr. Miinsterberg's discussion is closely followed.^ The rela-
tion of public relief to private charities has, apparently, been even less
carefully defined in Germany than in America. Here again the
difference lies not in the general principles recognized in the two
countries, but in historic development and actual, existing conditions.
The very thing which, in Germany, renders the participation of the
citizens in the public relief so valuable is, on the other hand, a
hindrance to the development of private charities ; while the very
circumstances which have impeded the growth of public relief in
America have quickened private charities in a most unusual degree.
The activity of the German citizen in relief work is a voluntary contri-
bution toward the burdens of the commune ; the American makes his
contribution in the form of direct private charity. While the German
demands that the portion of the public funds to be devoted to poor
relief be turned over to him and expended by him as he shall judge
best, the well-to-do American provides himself with a somewhat larger
income, and also expends it according to his own judgment. The only
difference is that in Germany the burdens of the public relief are borne
by all taxpayers equally, while in America the beneficent and philan-

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 4 of 73)