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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working mothers going for the day to shops and factories and offices
could leave their little ones. The day nurseries receive children of
from fifteen days to three years of age during working hours, regard-
less of the religious bias of parents. The ultimate aim of the institu-
tion is to make maternal lactation easier and to preserve the family
tie among the needy ; to lighten the work of women wage earners
and to start under favorable auspices the physical and ethical educa-
tion of children ; and to improve at the same time the spirit and morals
of a class sadly in need of improvement.

The first creche was opened in Paris, November 14, 1844, by
Firmin Marbeau, who conceived the idea while engaged in preparing
a general report on infant schools in his arrondissement. He was
impressed with the fact that provision was made in various kinds of
institutions for children over two years of age while those younger
were not considered. The development of creches was very rapid,
being promoted by the "Societe des Creches," organized in 1846.
This society procures funds needed to carry on the work, and, while
its efforts have been mainly in behalf of Paris, the provinces have not
been entirely neglected. The daily attendance at all creches has
nearly doubled since 1889. There were, in 1898, 653,838 children
cared for per day. Some of the day nurseries more recently opened
by private beneficence have beautiful playgrounds in addition to the
house accommodations.

Taking the "Creche Furtado-Heine," 7 Rue Jacquin, Paris, as a
type, one is able to see the methodical manner in which such an insti-
tution is conducted and also its far-reaching effects. This creche,
which is absolutely free, was opened in 1896, and receives children up
to the age of three years, regardless of sex or religion. The methods
pursued in the treatment of children taken there are as follows : ( i )
There is a thorough medical examination of all children brought for
the first time, and this is repeated if the child is absent at any time for
forty-eight consecutive hours. (2) The child is at once supplied
with creche clothing, and its own garments, properly labeled, are put
in a basket and subjected to a disinfecting process. (3) Each child,


after its acceptance, is bathed carefully. (4) Sterilized milk is pro-
vided. (5) Children are fed at times prescribed by the physician in
charge. (6) The day is divided into sleep and play periods.

This very important work is carried on in France through the
"Societe des Creches," by means of private benefactions and munic-
ipal subventions.

School Children. — In 1890 there was formed in Lille a society
whose aim was the distribution of clothing, playthings, fruit and
sweetmeats to poor school children at Christmas time. There has
never been any complicated machinery in use to determine what chil-
dren are entitled to the gifts. It is sufficient to know that the child
is poor. The success of the society in Lille led to the formation of
similar societies throughout the north of France, and now in nearly
all of the towns school children who are needy are provided with the
necessities of life.

Sick and Weak Children. — There are many sanatoriums, the
growth of recent years, for the care of children afflicted with rickets,
scrofula and tuberculosis. And the term sanatorium is used to mean
an institution where suitable climate and proper care, rather than
medication and surgery, predominate in effecting a cure. As early
as 1854 the department of public relief in Paris opened an institution
for anaemic children at Forges-les-Bains, and a few years later sana-
toriums for the treatment of rickets and scrofulous diseases were
established. But it was not until 1888 that the necessity of caring
for tuberculous children became apparent. This very valuable work
is now done in a most scientific way. There are seven establishments
representing a cost of four million francs, and under the supervision
of a medical committee composed of twenty members. By the care-
ful selection and treatment of patients, and an insistence upon pre-
ventive measures, the ravages of this dread disease have been checked
to a considerable degree. Since the beginning of the work over thir-
teen thousand children have been treated, and the number seeking
relief increases from year to year. In 1900 the Chamber of Deputies,
recognizing the great value of the work done, unanimously author-
ized the establishing of a lottery for its support.

In addition to the above mentioned institutions for the care of
specific diseases, there are many children's hospitals of a more general
nature. "L'Hopital des Enfants-Malades" was founded in 1732.
Designed at first for girls and women, it opened its doors in 1802 to


sick children of both sexes. There are isolation wards for contagious
diseases. In all the hospital contains 632 beds. Other children's
hospitals in Paris are "L'Hopital Trousseau," originally opened in
1670, and "L'Hopital de la Roche-Guyon," founded in 1861. In
addition to this, many of the hospitals have free clinics for children.

Seaside and Country Outings. — The first efforts to send school
children to the country for an outing in vacation resulted from private
initiative. This was in 1881, when a well-known and philanthropic
woman sent three children to Manteuil-les-jNIeaux. From this small
beginning has grown up the great work of vacation colonies. There
are two methods commonly pursued : ( i ) The sending of children
to the homes of people in the country, where they live for a time the
family life ; and (2) the sending of groups of children under the pro-
tection of a properly qualified person to spend their vacation in the
country. This is the more general method.

The work of sending children to the country for a time during the
summer is undertaken by different societies having special funds for
this purpose. "La Chaussee du Maine" undertook this branch of
charity in 1882 in a very modest way by sending twenty children out
of the city ; in 1890 the number was 160 ; and in 1899 it had increased
to 1,106. The children were at first placed in little groups among
the farming people, but since 1899 the society has owned a home near
the sea where the climate is especially adapted to the needs of the
weak children. The age of admission varies from five to fifteen years
and children are entertained from one to three months, according to
their needs. The charge is thirty-five francs a month, including
traveling expenses, but this is only in rare instances paid by parents.
Supporters of the society have a special fund for this purpose. "La
Caisse des Ecoles" of the seventh arrondissement in Paris instituted
summer outings in 1887. This organization is administered by a
committee composed of the mayor, the deputies, the members of the
cantonal delegation, and the inspector of primary instruction. A
very notable work has been done by this organiaztion for sick and
well children. The "Ouvre des Trois-Semaines," organized in 1881,
was the first society in France founded for the express purpose of
sending poor children to the country. The society owns two classes
of homes, one by the sea designed for those who need the salt air, and
one inland. The average charge in the latter is thirty-five francs,
and in the former seventy francs a month. There is in addition a




branch where mothers with children are accommodated. This is a
Protestant charity, supported by contribvitions from the various Prot-
estant societies in France. The majority of the children received
belong- to Protestant families, but others are not excluded.

Playgrounds for children are provided in some of the city gardens
and parks of Paris, where space is reserved for them, as in the
Jardin de Luxembourg.

Morally Imperilled Children. — Since 1887 there has been in
France a union for the protection of childhood. Its field of operation
is clearly delimited. It deals exclusively with maltreated or morally
endangered children, including in the first class all those who are
brutally treated at home, or doomed to beggary or employed in
dangerous trades ; while in the second class are included all those
whose parents are notoriously bad, or given up to a life of mendicancy
or have been sentenced for crime ; in short, all those children whose
home life would inevitably conduce to fatal depravity. Children
gathered together by the society are placed temporarily in the home
at Neuilly. While there, their moral and physical natures are care-
fully studied by experts, and later they are placed, according- to their
needs, in institutions or private families. Between the years 1888
and 1899 the Union received 1,196 children. Since 1892 the Union
has had a dotal fund for the children it has adopted. For this pur-
pose it puts aside from the day of adoption to the time when the child
begins to earn its living fifty francs a year for the girls and thirty for
the boys. The sum thus accumulated is given to the ward if, after
investigation, his conduct is found to warrant it. The society is ad-
ministered by a council of thirty-six members elected by the general
assembly of subscribers. Similar societies exist in Lyons, Bordeaux,
Toulon, Marseilles, Montpellier, Bourgoin, Macon and Chalon-sur-
Seine. These cooperate with the mother society, but act independ-
ently in local matters. The original Union is supported by member-
ship assessments, subventions from the state, departments and com-
munes, and an annual charity bazaar, and a lottery. With this thor-
ough organization, supplemented as it is by the work of private indi-
viduals, one feels that morally imperilled children have an avenue of
escape open to them, and that a most commendable work is being
done. The number of children given public assistance in 1897 was

In order to prepare children for productive industry, attention has


been given to technical training. The :6coles manuelles d'apprentis-
sage (loi du ii decembre, 1880) and the ficoles pratique du com-
merce et de I'industrie (decret du 22 fevrier, 1893) had this purpose.
These schools are free. The pupils enter at 13 years, and receive
instruction in ordinary branches while they have commercial or in-
dustrial training. But the advantages of such schools have been
restricted to the cities and the class of skilled workmen. Many socie-
ties of patronage, religious and secular, have been formed to guide
and counsel youth and keep them from evil ways. Homes have been
opened for young girls working in shops and factories, where they
can secure decent surroundings at a reasonable cost.^

The law of 1874 (Dec. 7) pronounced severe penalties of impris-
onment on parents who permitted their children to give performances
as acrobats, etc., or to send them begging.

The law of 1889 (July 24) provided for the dissolution of parental
power by a court when a child is in moral peril. It followed that the
judge could do nothing until the case was serious enough to deprive
a parent of his control over the child ; and in case of illegitimate chil-
dren nothing could be done.

The law of 1898 (April 19) gave juvenile offenders and those
cruelly treated protection.^

L. Care of Youth^ 12 to 18 Years of Age. — In seeking what
is being done for youth from twelve to eighteen years of age in
France, one is confronted with the fact that many of the varied insti-
tutions whose primary aim is the caring for young children open their
doors to boys and girls of twelve or fourteen years or even older.
This is especially true in the case of hospitals and institutions for the
care of the sick, as, for example, the hospitals at Ivry and Salpetriere,
which receive incurable children between the ages of four and twenty
years. Again, the "Societe Lyonnaise pour le Sauvetage de I'Enf-
ance" extends all its privileges to children as old as fourteen years.
But eliminating these, we find a good deal of attention being paid to
children over twelve years of age. So without attempting a reenu-
meration of societies and institutions mainly concerned with young
children, but accepting, at the same time, unfortunates of a few years

^L. Riviere,' Mendiants et Vagabonds, 1902.

^ Ibid., gives an account of societies and institutions for helping children.



older, we shall pass to a consideration of works of charity undertaken
primarily to aid young persons.

As early as 1828 there was formed in Paris a society^ whose aim
is to prepare young boys of the poorer classes to make an honest live-
lihood. Various trades are taught and efforts are made to get places
for the boys when they are ready to go to work. The temptation and
seeming necessity for many boys to drift into dishonest occupations
is thus removed. Great care is taken to learn the particular bent of
each boy, and he is trained with that in view. Large numbers avail
themselves of the opportunity thus presented each year. The society
has a threefold interest in its proteges, — as students, as apprentices
and as workers. In order to be admitted to the society a boy must be
French, a resident of Paris, and not less than eight nor more than ten
years of age. This age is fixed in order that the training may be
thorough. At the age of thirteen the boy commences work as an
apprentice, returning to the maison de faniiUe to spend his evenings
and Sundays. In 1899 the Society had three hundred and twenty
proteges. It is supported by about 350 titular members who pay
twenty francs a year, by subscriptions, and charity bazaars. The
Society is controlled by a council of twenty-six members and a com-
mittee of ladies.

It was not until a much later date that the necessity of training
poor girls was recognized. "L'Ecole Menagere et Professionelle
Vila" was founded in 1884^ to fit young girls of the working classes
for the multiplicity of duties falling upon the mother in a poor man's
family, and in addition to this to teach them some useful trade. The
spirit of the school is good and the instruction excellent. Such an
institution was much needed, not only to fit poor girls to earn a living,
but to enable them with their domestic training to improve home con-
ditions too often lamentably bad. In 1899 there were in the school
fifty-five young girls from ten to eighteen years of age, and the ac-
commodations are being enlarged from time to time. The institution
is regulated by an administrative council of twelve members elected
for a period of three years by the general assembly of subscribers.

A society of recent origin^ gives a provisional refuge, with food

'^ Societe des Amis de I'Enfance pour I'education et I'apprentissage de jeunes
garQons pouvres de la ville de Paris.
^At Chaumont.
'Patronage de I'Enfance et de lAdolescence, founded in 1890.



and clothes, to young vagrants while efforts are being made to pro-
cure work for them. These young boys, between twelve and eighteen
years of age, are required to give work in exchange for what they
have received. In 1899, 731 boys were received in the home.

The "Ligue Fraternelle des Enfants de France," founded in 1885,
extends its care to unfortunates up to the age of twenty-one years and
is doing a notable work, inasmuch as it has branches and committees
operating all over the country. At the present time it is aiding about
15,000 proteges.

In the early years of the nineteenth century thinking people were
aroused to the fact that the system of punishment then in vogue, to-
gether with society's treatment of discharged prisoners, was demor-
alizing to young offenders, and some notable efforts were made to
correct this tendency.

In 1819 "L'Oeuvre laique du bon Pasteur" was founded as a
temporary home for young girls from fifteen to twenty-three years of
age, who were in a hopeless condition after leaving Saint-Lazare. If
necessity arose, in special cases, the asylum became a permanent
home. In 1833 a society for aiding young men was formed, and
this was the first for helping youthful male delinquents. The deplor-
able conditions existing in the prisons and the appalling number of
young men becoming habitual criminals led to the organization of
this protective society. It was observed that prison life tended to
make criminals of those who were sentenced for the first time, and
thus defeated the very object for which such punishment stood. The
conviction grew upon those interested that avenues to legitimate
employment were practically closed to the unfortunates who had
served a sentence for any offence, and so a desire to reform was taken
away from them. For the purpose of overcoming in a measure this
hardship, an asylum was opened to receive those discharged from
prison until suitable employment could be obtained for them, and thus
lessen the danger of a second commitment. Before the society com-
menced its work the number of recidivistes was about seventy-five per
cent. ; now it is not more than ten per cent.

Another organization^ was founded in 1878 for the purpose of
trying to regenerate by means of military discipline young delin-

* "La Societe de Protection des engages volontaires eleves sous la tutelle


quents or morally abandoned youth to the age of eighteen years. In
the beginning, the society concerned itself only with those who had
been in correctional institutions, but for several years it has been
equally interested in the welfare of youth morally endangered in any
way. The society aims to find positions in the army and elsewhere
for young men who show signs of wishing to lead a better life. The
depositing of a certain sum of money is considered by the society a
moral obligation which it has a right to exact from proteges. This
sum is invested for their future benefit and every effort is made to
induce them to economize when once work has been obtained. Nu-
merous other societies are working earnestly to check the tendency
among young delinquents to become habitual criminals, and they are
meeting with excellent results. The young boys feel that friends are
awaiting them at the expiration of the first sentence, and they show
an inclination to embrace the opportunities offered them to lead a
better life.

From all of this it would appear that philanthropists in France
are recognizing the fact that the age between childhood and manhood
or womanhood is fraught with many dangers among the poor and
viciously inclined, and that aid must be extended if misfortune and
crime are to be lessened. The results in all cases bear witness to the
value of the efforts.^

Protection of Girls. — Senator Berenger has founded a committee
to cooperate with similar committees of other countries to suppress
the traffic in "white slaves." An international conference was held
in Paris, July 15, 1902, which made plans to secure the aid of various

Religious and secular societies are seeking to provide proper
dwellings for working girls in Paris, as the Cercle Amicitia and the
Syndicat de I' Aiguille. The Societe Philanthropique has opened sev-
eral houses. The Salvation Army has a popular hotel, and the Israel-
ites have established a home for girls.^

M. Preventive Work.' Workingman's Insurance. — The ques-

*See Rapports du Jury International (1900), Groupe XVI, Quatrienie partie,
classe 112.

*Zeit. f. d. Armenwesen, 1903, p. 35.

' Annuaire-Almanach de LAction Populaire (1904).

Rapports du Jury International Exposition Universelle Internationale de
1900 a Paris; Quatrieme partie, classe 112; Rapports de la Societe Philan-



tion of insurance against illness was first taken up by the Societe de
Secours Mutuels, and later by La caisse de retraite pour la vieillesse
and Les caisses de secours et de retraite des ouvriers mineurs. The
various principles relating to insurance against sickness and old age
advocated by these societies were embodied in the law of June 29,
1894. In general a certain per cent, of the wages received is given
and in the case of the miners, insurance is open to people over fifty-
five years of age. Accident insurance is still new in France.

The social value of conciliation and arbitration in trade disputes
was recognized by law in 1892, but the success of this method of set-
tling difficulties has not been phenomenal. In the year 1899, 190 dis-
putes were considered by boards constituted for this purpose, but only
59 of them were settled in accordance with the law of 1892.

Factory Lazvs. — The first French factory act dates back to 184T,
but this was ineffectual because unenforced. After a struggle lasting
half a century the enforcement of the law was made a duty of the
factory inspectors (1892). The act as it now stands applies to "all
labor of children, female minors and women in workshops, factories,
mines, quarries, yards or premises belonging to same of whatever
nature, whether public or private, lay or ecclesiastical, or whether the
establishment is industrial or philanthropic in character." The vital
principles of the act are : ( i ) That no child under twelve years of
age may be employed. (2) Inspectors may examine any child under
sixteen where his physical fitness for work is in question. (3) In
orphan asylums and similar institutions no child under twelve may be
given training in manual labor more than three hours per day. (4)
No child under sixteen may work more than ten hours per day. (5)
No child under thirteen years shall be permitted to work in theatres
and music halls. (6) No woman over eighteen may labor more than
eleven hours without at least one hour's rest. Women and others
under eighteen shall not be permitted to work between 9 P. M. and
5 A. M., with a few exceptions in special cases. (7) Parties specified
in the law as stated in the foregoing clauses shall not be permitted to
work more than six days per week. In addition to this the sanitary
regulations are good.

Employment Offices. — Many of the philanthropic institutions of

thropique, 1896-1900; United States Bulletins of Labor, 1900; Bodiker, Arbeiter
Versicherung in den Europaischen Staaten ; Zacher, Die Arbeiter- Versicherung.


France see the necessity of furnishing- work to persons whom they
have helped, and have opened employment offices in response to this
need. Such offices, of course, are conducted on a small scale, and
secure work for a limited number of persons. But besides the bu-
reaux we find many institutions devoted entirely to securing work for
those seeking it. This valuable service tends to lessen the numbers
of the unemployed. The municipality of Paris has established free
employment bureaux in the different arrondissements. These are
supported by municipal subventions, donations and membership fees.
The administration is divided between members of the municipality,
administrative officers of bureaux of charity and delegates from the
body of subscribers. The bureau of the sixth arrondissement was
founded in 1889, and since that time has placed 2'2,'j'j'j applicants.
The results of these municipal offices are most satisfactory. Promi-
nent among the private employment offices is one established in 1871
by a manufacturer. This is practically the same in aims and methods
as the offices under public control. Since its inception work has been
secured for about thirty thousand people. During the year 1899,
1,034 persons were placed satisfactorily.

Aid for Discharged Prisoners and Their Families. — Societies
to aid discharged prisoners are a rather recent development in France,
Although early in the last century efforts were made to improve the
conditions of prison life, it was not till within the last generation that
public attention was called to the hardships of those who had com-
pleted a previous sentence. Such unfortunate persons encountered
difficulties on every side ; they were met with aversion and suspicion,
and this rendered their return to a life of honesty extremely hard.

The "Societe Generale pour le patronage des liberes," founded in
1870, attempted in a small way, at first, to extend sympathy and ma-
terial aid to this class of people. It now maintains homes for dis-
charged prisoners, both men and women, until work can be secured
for them. A rule of 1889 requires each person received in the homes
to contribute to the society four full days' work without pay in return
for efforts made in his behalf. Any discharged prisoner is received
without question, and may remain four days. The more worthy ones

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 56 of 73)