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684

CHARITY

AND

CHARITIES

ciples and methods of the poor-law of 1834. In the devotion to the duties of citizenship. But perhaps, in broader sense the turn of thought is religious, for while regard to charity in Great Britain, the most important usually stress is laid on the religious scepticism of the change has been the revival of the teaching of Dr century, the deeper, fervent, conscientious, and evangelical Chalmers (1780-1847), who (1819) introduced a system charity in which Nonconformists, and especially “the of parochial charity at St John’s, Glasgow, on indeFriends,” took so large a part, is often forgotten. Some- pendent lines, consistent with the best traditions of the times, indeed, as often happens now, the feeling of charity Scottish Church. In the development, of the theory of passed into the merest sentimentality. This is evident, charitable relief on the economic side this has been a mam for instance, from so ill-considered a measure as Pitt’s Bill factor. His view, which he tested by experience, may for the relief of the poor. On the other hand, during the be summed up as follows. Society is a growing, self18th century the poor-law was the object of constant supporting organism. It has within it, as between family criticism, though so long as the labour statutes and and family, neighbour and neighbour, master and emthe old law of settlement were in force, and the relief ployee, endless links of sympathy and self-support. Poverty not an absolute, but a relative term. Naturally the of the labouring population as state “poor’ prevailed, it is members of one class help one another; the poor help was impossible to reform it. Indeed, the criticism itself the poor. There is thus a large invisible fund available was generally vitiated by a tacit acceptance of “ the poor ” and constantly used by those who, by their proximity to as a class, a permanent and irrevocable charge on the one another, know best how to help. The philanthropist funds of the community; and at the end of the 18th century, when the labour statutes were abrogated, but is an alien to this life around him. Moved by a. sense the conditions under which poor relief was administered of contrast between his own lot, as he understands it, and remained the same, serfdom in its later stage, the serfdom the lot of those about him, whom he but little understands, concludes that he should relieve them. But his gift, of the poor-law, asserted itself in its extremest form in he it be given in such a way as to promote this times of dearth and difficulty during the Napoleonic unless self-support, instead of weakening it, is really injurious. war. In 1802-03 it was calculated (Marshall’s Digest) that 28 per cent, of the population were in receipt of In the first place, by his interference he puts a check permanent or occasional relief. Those in receipt of the on the charitable resources of another class and lessens former numbered 734,817, including children so real had their social energy. What he gives they do not give, this serfdom of the poor become. In 1832 the expenditure though they might do so. But next, he does more harm this. He stimulates expectation, so that by a false on pauperism in England and Wales was £7,036,968. In than arithmetic his gift of a few shillings seems to those who the early years of the 19th century the mendicity societies, established in some of the larger towns, were a sign of the receive it and to those who hear of it a possible source of general discontent with existing methods of administration. help in any difficulty. To them it represents a large The Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor—repre- command of means; and where one has received what, senting a group of men such as Colquhoun, Bernard, Lett- though it be little, is yet, relative to wage, a large sum to som, Haygarth, Neald, and others—took a more positive be acquired without labour, many will seek moie, and line’and issued many useful publications (1796). After with that object will waste their time and be put off their 1833 the very atmosphere of thought seems changed. There work, or even be tempted to lie and cheat. So social was a general desire to be quit of the serfdom of pauperism. energy is diverted from its proper use. Alms thus given The Poor-Law Amendment Act was passed in 1834, and weakens social ties, diminishes the natural relief funds of since then male able-bodied pauperism has dwindled to a mutual help, and beggars a neighbour instead of beneminimum. The bad years of 1860-70 revived the problem fiting him. By this argument a clear and well-defined in England and Scotland, and the old spirit of reform purpose is placed before charity. Charity becomes a for a time prevailed. Improved administration working science based on social principles and observation. Not with economic progress effected still further reductions of to give alms, but to keep alive the saving health of the pauperism, till in 1900 it stood at 688,505, or 21-7 per family, becomes its problem: relief becomes, altogether thousand of the population, instead of at 45 per thousand subordinate to this, and institutions or societies are seras in 1851. (See article Poor-Law.) Charity organiza- viceable or the reverse according as they serve or fail to tion societies were formed after 1869, with the object of serve this purpose. Not poverty, but distress is the plea “ improving the condition of the poor,” or, in other words, for help; not almsgiving, but charity the means. To to promote independence by an ordered and co-operative charity is given a definite social aim, and a desire to use charity; and the Association for Befriending Young consistently with this aim every method that increasing Servants, and workhouse aid committees, in order to knowledge and trained ability can devise. L nder such prevent relapse into pauperism on the part of those who influences as these, joined with better economic conditions, as children or young women received relief from the poor- a great reform has been made. The poor-law, however, law. The Local Government Board adopted a restricted remains—our modern eleemosyna civicci. It now, indeed, out-door relief policy, and a new interest was felt in all absorbs a proportionately lesser amount of the largely the chief problems of local administration. The move- increased national income, but, excluding the maintenance ment was general. The results of the Elberfield system of lunatics, it costs Great Britain nearly ten millions a year; of municipal relief administered by unpaid almoners, each and among the lower classes of the poor, directly or indealing with but one or two cases, influenced thought directly, it serves as a bounty on dependence and is a perboth in England and America. The experience gained manent obstacle to thrift and self-reliance. The number by Mr Joseph Puckerman of New York of the utility of of those who are within the circle of its. more immediate registering applications for relief, and the teaching of attraction is now perhaps, in different parts of the country, Miss Octavia Hill, led to the foundation of the system not more than 20, 25, or 30 per cent, of the population. of friendly visiting and associated charity, at Boston Upon that population the statistics of a day census would (1880) and elsewhere. Since that time the influence of show a pauperism not of 2‘50 but of 12’50 to 8 per Arnold Toynbee and the investigations of Mr Charles cent.; and the percentage would be much greater—Booth have led to a better appreciation of the conditions twice as large perhaps—if the total number of those who in of labour; and to some extent, in London and elsewhere, some way received poor relief in the course of a year were the spirit of charity has assumed the form of a new taken into account. The poor - law is thus among the