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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of charity work. This innovation called forth a lively discus-
sion in the commission, which dealt largely with the well-known
arguments in regard to the surveillance of private charity. The
majority saw in the obligation to impart information a prepara-
tion for a national organization of private charity. The commis-
sion considered this provision so important that they stated ex-
plicitly in Art. 87 that it would be desirable to have a joint cen-
tral committee of information in each local administrative di-
vision which should include all private and public charity asso-
ciations. In this way the Commission would attempt to coordi-
nate all branches of charity activity and through a wider and
more accurate knowledge of the conditions of the indigent to
make a more economical and effective use of the resources of pri-
vate and public relief.

G. The Treatment of Vagrants and Beggars. — As we have
seen in the historical introduction, of the three laws of 1891, the



one relating to the suppression of vagrancy and beggary has
given most satisfaction. It has been brought into connection
with the charity system because it is concerned with persons,
who, on account of lack of other means of support, justly or un-
justly, have claimed a right to help from the charity organiza-
tions. This claim has been just on the part of those unable to
work, but another class able to work but refusing to do so have
misused the institutions of charity. This law, therefore, treats
of a matter which belongs in part to the province of criminal law.
However, a similar condition is found in the legislation of other
countries. That which characterizes the Belgian law is the con-
scious purpose to strike as hard as possible at the habitual va-
grants and beggars, to make harmless, so far as it can, these para-
sites of human society, and on the other hand to help back again
to normal conditions those who have been the victims of unfor-
tunate circumstances. Here, then, is taken a position similar to
that on which the introduction of conditional sentence is based,
with which Belgium has made such a notable beginning.

By this law it is the duty of the government to establish three
kinds of institutions, which are included under the name of insti-
tutions of correction. They are : (a) workhouses ; (b) refuges ;
(c) schools of charity.

The workhouses are exclusively for persons able to work but
who, instead of gaining their livelihood by work, make a busi-
ness of begging, and for those who in consequence of idleness
and immorality live as vagrants. These persons are brought
before a magistrate and assigned by him to the government for
imprisonment for a period from two to seven years.

The refuges are a sort of intermediary form between the poor-
houses and workhouses and are a home for those who through
age, sickness, and other causes of inability to work are forced to
beg. A person in such circumstances who is found begging can
be brought before a magistrate and then assigned to the Board
of Management for a period of one to seven years. Also persons
who, on account of indigence, have voluntarily reported them-
selves to the commune can be placed in these institutions.

The Schools of Charity are only in part what their name indi-
cates, /. e., in so far as the youth under eighteen years of age are
assigned to them through the commune. Otherwise they are for


the youth who on account of begging, vagrancy or other misde-
meanors are given over to the Board of Management. In gen-
eral they may be designated as compulsory training schools.

The expense of supporting the inmates of the workhouses and
the houses of refuge is defrayed by the state and provinces, each
one-third, and the other third by the commune to which the indi-
vidual belongs. In case the individual has no legal settlement,
the expense falls to the province. If it relates to the inmates of
the workhouses, the costs are defra3'cd out of the treasury of the
commune concerned, while in case of inmates of the refuges con-
tributions are received from the hospitals and bureaus of charity.
The state and the communes bear the cost of the support of the
schools of charity except in cases where there is no legal settle-
ment and then provinces assume the share of the communes.

This law was supplemented by the royal decree of 1895 which
relates to the principles by which work in the institutions is regu-
lated. These are, in substance, as follows : All able-bodied per-
sons are required to work and must be employed so far as prac-
ticable on the kind of work to which they have been accustomed.
In order to prevent injury to private industries they are em-
ployed as far as possible in the construction of objects necessary
to the institutions under the control of the government. The
institutions have over 1,200 hectares of land at their disposal.

Compensation so far as possible is in proportion to the amount
of work done, a deduction being made proportionate to the cost
of maintenance of the individual. The wages for work in the
workhouses and refuges, fixed by the minister, vary according to
the classification of the inmates which is on the basis of their
conduct. In the refuges they range from 24 to 71 centimes in
the first class, from 21 to 60 in the second, and from 9 to 27 in
the third. The wages in the workhouses are very small, amount-
ing in the highest class to from 15 to 25 centimes. Those un-
able to work receive an allowance of 6 centimes. The inmates
in both classes of institutions are allowed one-third of their wages
for their support, while two-thirds is reserved till the time of their
discharge. If the total is under five francs it is raised to that
amount by the management in case of good conduct.

The principal difficulty in carrying out the law, in other re-
spects, lies in the individualization of the different cases. Infor-



mation is sought in regard to the character of the former Hfe, the
nature of the punishment, home relations, etc., and this is taken
into consideration in fixing the period of detention. Besides a
patronage committee for both institutions has been formed at
Wortel and Merxplas whose members help the inmates to secure
work and also in other ways.

H. Medical Relief. — The local and intercommunal commis-
sions fix the number of physicians in such a manner as to assure
to the indigent the liberty of choice. The report contains very
noteworthy remarks concerning the questions over which there
has been so much discussion in Germany. It cites the example
of the small city of Hasselt with 15,000 inhabitants where the
experiment of choosing the physicians was adopted with the re-
sult that a much greater demand was made for medical care, and,
also, that many more physicians were appointed. Consequently
the rate for these appointments was lowered 10 centimes (the
pay having been 50 centimes for each visit), which limited the
movement somewhat. The report considers the example of
Hasselt valuable and worthy of imitation but states that it could
be followed with safety only in small towns where control is
easy and abuses can soon be discovered. In the large cities the
number of physicians is so great and they are so widely separated
as to make superintendence impossible. The system of an ab-
solutely free choice of a physician is, therefore, not considered
feasible. Certain limitations depending upon the character of
the district, are required.

In case the local or intercommunal commissions do not have
a properly organized system of medical aid, the permanent Depu-
tation has a right to fix the amount necessary for medical, obstet-
rical, and pharmaceutical service.

The local and intercommunal commissions are prohibited
from making contracts with apothecaries who grant reductions
in drugs. The King is empowered, with the advice of the medical
commissions, to fix the rate below which the authorized phar-
macists and physicians can not furnish medicines and other phar-
maceutical materials to the local and intercommunal com-

J. Deaf Mutes and Blind. — The first institute was opened
at Tournay in 1793, but soon closed on account of national trou-



bles. In 1819 a school was opened ai Liittich. There are 12
separate schools for deaf boys and girls. Children are received
at 6 years and discharged at 20 or 21. In almost all Belgian insti-
tutions the blind and deaf are taught in the same schools. This
is not because the modes of instruction are alike, but because it
is felt they need similar protection. Pupils are everywhere
trained to handwork, and this form of instruction begins with the
13th year.

There are four asylums for poor adult deaf women at Brus-
sels, Bruges, Ghent, Namur. There are also societies of the
deaf for mutual help. In 1900 there were 12 schools, 926 deaf
pupils, 139 teachers. There were 3.500 deaf mutes in a popula-
tion of 6,700,000. After the age of 65 years each dependent deaf
person receives a pension of 65 francs annually from the state.

Family Care of the Insane at Ghecl. — It is well understood
that the insane of certain types are much more comfortably and
economically cared for if permitted to live a normal life in a
family, with the freedom and familiarity of rural surroundings
and occupations. But all the insane need careful supervision and
therefore they must not be scattered over too wide an area.
Since the beginning of the seventh century, when there was a
resort for pilgrims at a saint's shrine, there has been a colony
for the insane at Gheel. Early in the nineteenth century this
colony was brought under improved regulations and its useful-
ness extended. The insane, carefully selected from harmless
cases, are placed in families and share their life, their pleasures
and their labors. They have no distinctive dress or badge.
Medical supervision is constant and alert, but not obtrusive. A
hospital for the care of the sick and the disturbed is at hand. In
1884 the colony of Lierneux was established for Walloons, as that
of Gheel is for Flemings. The expense is paid in part by the
province and in part by the state. The daily cost of maintenance
at Lierneux is about i fr. 40. The insane who have means pay
a minimum annual sum of 511 francs. In 1899 ^^"^^ colony of
Gheel had 1,954 insane, of whom 1,035 were men and 919 women.
Since 1875 the colony has treated 7,762 patients, and 1,256 of these
were either cured or greatly improved in health, a ratio of 16.5
per cent. The daily cost at Gheel is o fr. .85 for healthy insane
and o fr. .99 to i fr. .25 for disturbed cases.^

* Rapports Exposition Univcrsellc Internationale de 1900, p. 438, Classc 112.


K. Children. — The law of 1895 relating to primary instruc-
tion was retained by the commission. This makes it the duty
of the commune to see that children not attending the private
schools and having the right of free instruction receive this in-
struction either in a communal school or in an authorized school.
The children having a right to free instruction are those in com-
munes with less than 5,000 inhabitants who pay to the use of the
state in any way less than 10 francs; in communes of 5,000 to
20,000 inhabitants, less than 15 francs; in those over 20,000 in-
habitants, less than 30 francs. The communal council each year
prepares a list of children who in accordance with these pro-
visions have a right to free instruction and also the remuneration
due to the instructors of the communal and authorized schools.
This list as well as the quota of remuneration is submitted to the
permanent Deputation for approval. The permanent Deputa-
tion determines the part which devolves upon the local and inter-
communal commissions in the expense of education of children
having the right to free instruction. The part assigned to each
commission is placed in its budget and must be divided between
the communal schools, the authorized schools and the eligible
schools, in proportion to the number of children having the right
of free instruction.

M. Preventive Work. — The commission mentioned above an-
nounced that hereafter the policy of preventive charity would be
closely adhered to and very strongly emphasized.

The local and intercommunal commissions are urged to en-
courage the organization of industrial schools and schools of
domestic economy and in case of need they may subsidize them.

In regard to the second class, or involuntarily idle, the com-
mission considered the assistance given in procuring work as
superior to all other forms of aid. It has recently been taken up
to a very great extent. The administrative authority is not only-
urged to pursue this course, but is held responsible for the crea-
tion of employment offices or for acquainting itself with the
institutions already devoted to this work.

The commission also considered the help given in providing
sanitary dwellings for a reasonable rent as very important and
adapted to a solution, in part, of the dwelling house problem.
"When," as the report states, "the poor receive sanitary dwell-


ings at a reasonable price, they will not only maintain their self-
respect by paying the rent themselves, but also, they will not be
at the mercy of the landlords in the laboring districts, who often
charge exorbitant prices for their unsanitary houses." The
problem of providing houses to rent to the poor is under the con-
trol of the local and intercommunal commissions.

The report of the commission recommended very strongly the
establishment of a general system of workingmen's insurance
against accidents, sickness, non-employment, old age and in-
validity, similar to that of Germany. On this point the commis-
sion was unanimous and took special steps to draw the attention
of the government to this need. They pointed out that unless
there was an adequate system of social insurance to cope with
the risks which menace the working classes public and private
charity would be overburdened in their efforts to deal with

There were already in existence five classes of institutions
for the insurance of workingmen against either accidents, sick-
ness, or old age and invalidity, viz.: (i) The National Savings
and Old Age Pensions Bank (caisse Gene rale d'Epargne et de
Retraite) ; (2) the special Miners' Insurance F. kU {Caisscs de
Prevoyance en Faveiir des Onvriers Mineiirs) ; (3) the National
Aid Societies (Societes de Secoitrs Mntiiels) ; (4) the National
Bank for the Assistance of Workingmen Injured by Accidents
(Caisse de Prevoyance et de Seconrs en Faveur des Victims des
Accidents du Travail), and (5) Insurance funds organized by the
large employers of labor for the benefit of their employes. Of
these, the second class furnished an excellent precedent to the
Belgian people of the kind of workingmen's insurance that would
be desirable for other industries. It had been in successful opera-
tion for fifty years, providing insurance for all miners "with the
creation of no expensive bureaucratic system, with an extremely
low cost of administration, and with a remarkable absence of
friction."^ Under this system of miners' insurance, the country
is divided into six districts, "in each of which has been created
a central institution for the insurance of miners against acci-
dents, and, to a limited extent, their insurance against old age
and invalidity ; and secondly, the creation of a special insurance

* Willoughby, Workingmen's Insurance.



fund by each mining company for sick insurance. Each miner is,
therefore, insured in two funds ; against accidents in a central
fund, and against sickness in the particular fund of his establish-

Only comparatively recently has the modern movement for
a general system of workingmen's insurance, either compulsory
or voluntary, gained attention. In 1890 and again in 1891, bills
v/evQ introduced providing for the compulsory insurance of all
v^orkingmen against accident, but owing to the preoccupation of
the country at the time with the question of constitutional revi-
sion, these propositions were not carefully considered. However,
in 1896 the Parliament took up the question in a more earnest
manner. Bills were introduced looking toward the adoption of
a more general system of workingmen's insurance than had hith-
erto prevailed.

While the commission was unanimous and insistent upon the
establishment of a general system of workingmen's insurance,
it was not in harmony with the view of the Parti ouvrier, which
desired to transform the organizations of public charity into a
system of insurance against accidents, sickness, non-employment,
old age and death. The commission did not think that the patri-
mony of the poor, embodied in the charity organizations, should
be used to pay the premiums of social insurance. In case of ac-
cidents, the commission considered it the duty of the industry
concerned to defray the larger part of the expense of insurance;
in case of sickness that the expense should be borne by employ-
ers, employes, and society; that the same principle should be ap-
plied to the other risks, save, perhaps, old age, when in case of
insufficient resources, the local commissions might be called upon
to pay part of the premiums.

The commission decided that it should be the policy of the
local charity organizations to encourage every appropriate
method for the prevention of pauperism, and, in case of need,
to take the initiative in the organization of insurance institutions.
To this end the charity organizations are to have the power to
subsidize individuals and institutions.

Aid for Discharged Prisoners and Their Families. — The so-
cieties of patronage, of which there are twenty-nine, attempt to

* Willoughby, Workingmen's Insurance.


bring about a permanent moral reform of discharged prisoners
"by maintaining or restoring relations with famihes, procuring
assistance that may be needed, and standing by them ... in
order to enable them to enter into free life and secure employ-
ment, or, if this is impossible, to assist them to emigrate."




The vastness of Russia's territory and population would of
itself make it difficult to gain a comprehensive view of the na-
tion's charities, even if the people were not, as they are, made
up of many different races, living under different conditions, pre-
serving their native customs and institutions, having different
forms of local government, and representing different degrees of
culture. A brief presentation of the subject must necessarily be
inadequate and for that reason inaccurate at many points. De-
scriptions which are true for one section of the country and one
group of people may be quite inapplicable to another, and gen-
eralizations become dangerous. It is often impossible to draw
conclusions from facts relating to such a diversity of conditions
and it is difficult to coordinate the information given in public
and private reports. These are published at irregular intervals
and show no uniformity in dates, form or use of terms, so that
they are generally useless for purposes of comparison. The
statistics of authorities often present hopeless contradictions be-
cause they use the same general terms to cover different groups
of organizations and fail to state closely what localities are re-
ferred to. Nearly all statistics regarding the numbers of special
classes, such as the blind, are merely estimates and are useful
only as suggestions. As the nation is amorphous and socially
diversified, illustrating in its civilization the extremes of bar-
barism, mediaevalism, and the highest modern culture in close
juxtaposition, so is pubHc and private charity without plan or uni-
formity; "its character," says Bravudo, "is wholly occasional."



Conscious, organized charity is almost confined to European Rus-
sia and to the neighborhood of large cities. \\'hile only 12^
per cent, of the population lives in cities, 83 per cent, of the chari-
table funds is spent on them. The present population is esti-
mated at 135,000,000, 94.000,000 in European Russia. About 5
per cent, of the whole, or some 7,000,000, are reckoned among the
needy, of whom the majority are peasants. Russia's industrial
development has been so late that a town proletariate is just be-
ginning to be noticed. The problem of poverty is largely the
land problem at present — the difficulties of readjustment that
have followed the emancipation of the serfs. The peasants have
been slow in redeeming their land, partly because they did not
at first understand the necessity of doing so and partly because
the terms of redemption were too hard. In some regions the
allotments have proved too small and in nearly all the methods
of agriculture are imperfect, so that there is no reserve supply of
food in the frequent times of floods, fires or pestilence. More-
over, the peasant has inherited the habit of dependence on a
master, he is very ignorant, he is accused of laziness and he is
certainly prone to drunkenness. Through the latter vice he is
apt to get hopelessly in debt and lose his cattle and farm imple-
ments, so that he is forced to become a hired laborer, or drifts
into a city and becomes a professional beggar.

In the Middle Ages mendicity was considered in Russia less
as a social evil than as an occasion ofifered to the rich of doing a
religious duty for the good of their souls (Kapnist). Almsgiving
satisfied the conscience of individuals, but the monasteries de-
veloped some hospitals, almshouses and refectories for travellers.
The need of discriminating in some way between the deserving
poor and the professional beggar was felt as early as the sixteenth
century, and in the time of Ivan the Terrible resolutions were
approved looking to a plan for separating the real poor and sick
and providing almshouses. In 1670 the first attempt at public
organization took the form of the "Asylums Building Board."
Peter the Great was so impressed with the growing numbers of
paupers that he issued a ukase forbidding almsgiving at the door
and ordering that vagrants should be cared for in convents under
restraint and that the sick should have separate quarters. He
himself founded an asylum for the poor and infirm. Catherine II


carried on the work thus begun. She organized in each province
bureaus of charity whose function it was to care for: (i) national
schools; (2) orphanages; (3) asylums; (4) hospitals for poor
lunatics; (5) workhouses; (6) houses of detention for vagrants;
(7) hospitals ; (8) homes for incurables. She founded in Moscow
and St. Petersburg the foundling hospitals which have been so
famous, and she enlarged the asylum built by Peter the Great.
Under the Empress Marie Feodoravna (1797-1828) all these insti-
tutions were enlarged, many schools built and at her death the
various charitable organizations numbered 39. The Emperor
Nicholas added to the girls' schools and asylums in country dis-
tricts and built several orphanages after the cholera epidemics
of 1830-31, when many children were left homeless and friend-
less. Succeeding sovereigns have patronized these charities and
they now include under the name of "Institutions of the Em-
press Marie" 683 educational and charitable institutions and so-
cieties. No important changes of administration were made
from the time of the formation of Bureaus of Charity in 1775
until local self-government was organized in 1864. Then the
functions of the bureaus were passed over to the Zemstvos or
local assemblies. There was, however, no noticeable activity
along charitable lines until about a decade ago : since then the
development in methods and extent of work has been very great.
The relief furnished is, however, very inadequate still, and it is
very unevenly distributed over the country.

A. Russia has no poor law, only special, occasional legisla-
tion on phases of public assistance, or separate classes of insti-
tutions, and enabling clauses in the fundamental law of local gov-
ernments. The Senate has explained that Zemstvos and cities
have the right to give assistance but are not under obligation to
do so ; therefore the poor can present no claim. There are also
no poor rates. "Public assistance" forms an item in the national
budget as well as in local budgets, but there are no special taxes
for poor-relief. There is no law of settlement, but in the rural

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 64 of 73)