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688

CHARITY

AND

CHARITIES

temptation i; greatest and where the family instinct should be If it is opened, the discipline should be very strict, and when strengchened — stimulate this neglect. So in the case ot the there is laziness or insubordination, relief in the workhouse should fathers : men who are lazy, and whose wives can earn a little, get at once be offered. The relief furnished to men employed in a the benefit of this help, and work for two or three days a week labour yard, of which in England at least half has to be given in instead of for the whole week. Winter after winter, hard or mild, kind, should, it has been said, be dealt out from day to day. This the meals are given, forgetful of the fact that man is made leads' to the men giving up the work sooner than they otherwise provident and responsible only by the pressure of nature ; and would. They have less to spend. thus winter, with its possibilities of want of employment, provides In some of the English colonies Homeric hospitality one of the strongest incentives to the practice of thrift, which, if still prevails, but by degrees the station-house or some it be encouraged, will do more for the health and contentment of the children than the meals of all their school life. Such relief, refuge is established in the towns as they grow Vagrancy^ indeed, is wrong by all the canons of reasonable charity, and, more populous. Finally, some system of labour appealing to the weakness of the poor, it creates an increasing in exchange for relief is evolved. At first this is voluntary, demand which it cannot meet. Thus, for instance, in Paris the afterwards it is officially recognized, and finally it may municipal subvention for the meals rose from 545,900 francs in 1892 to 912,885 francs in 1897, and the number of meals from become part of the system of public relief. As bad years 6,971,340 to 8,229,870. Mutatis mutandis the same result follows come, these changes are made step by step. In England when charitable funds for the same purpose are forthcoming. The the vagrant or wayfarer is tolerated and discouraged, but cause of distress in these cases is usually to be found in the home ; not kept employed. He should maintain himself, it is the cases are comparatively few; being few, they should be systematically dealt with individually, with the object of pre- thought. His relief is public relief, and now, usually after serving the family life ; or, if the family be so vicious that its true he has had a bath and food, he is admitted to a separate life is'entirely lost, and there is no alternative, as privately as room or cell in a casual ward. Before he leaves he has to possible some separate provision should be made for the children, do a task of work, and, subject to the discretion of the so that they may grow up strong and healthy, to become the master, he is detained two nights. This plan has reduced fathers and mothers of healthy families when they in turn make vagrancy, and, if it were universally adopted, clean accomtheir start in life. At a time of exceptional distress the following suggestions modation would everywhere be provided for the vagrant founded on much English experience may be of service. Usually without the attractions of a common or “ associate ” ward; such a time proposals are made to establish and probably vagrancy would diminish still further. It Exceptional at Specja| fLm(ls, and to provide employment to men distress. ^ an( WOmen out of work. But it is best, if possible, seems almost needless to say that in these circumstances, and as long as possible, to rely on existing agencies and to at any rate, casual alms should not be given to vagrants. strengthen them. Round them there are usually workers more or They know much better how to provide for themselves less trained. A new fund usually draws to it new people, many than the almsgiver imagines, for vagrancy is in the main of whom may not have had any special experience at all. If a new fund is inevitable, it is best that it should make its grants a mode of life not the result of any casual difficulty. to existing agencies after consultation with them. In any case Vagrancy and criminality are also nearly allied. The a clear policy should be adopted, and people should keep their magistrate, therefore, rather than the almsgiver, should heads. The exaggeration of feeling at a time of apprehended or usually interfere ■ and, as a rule, where the magistrates are actual distress is sometimes extraordinary, and the unwise action which it prompts is often a cause of continuing pauperism after- strict vagrancy in a county diminishes. Still undoubtedly wards, Where there is public or poor-law relief the follow- vagrancy has its economic side. In a bad year the number ing plan may be adopted *—In any large town there are usually of tramps is increased by the addition of unskilled and ditferent recognized poor-law, charitable, or other areas. The irresponsible labourers, who are soonest discharged when local people already at work in these areas should be formed into local committees. In each case a quick inquiry should be work is slack. As a part-voluntary system under official made, and the relieving officer communicated with, some central recognition the German Arbeiter-colonien are of interest. facts verified, and the home visited. Roughly, cases may be This in a measure has led to the introduction of labour divided into three classes : the irresponsible casual labouring i homes in England, the justification of which should be class ; a middle class of men with decent homes, who have made that they recruit the energy of the men who find their no provision for the future, and are not members of either friendly society or trades union ; and a third class, who have made some way to them, and enable them to earn a living which they provision. These usually are affected last of all , at all hazaids could not do otherwise. In a small percentage of cases they should be kept from receiving public relief, and should be this result may be achieved. Charitable refuges or helped, as far as possible, privately and personally. If there philanthropic common lodging-houses, usually established are public works, the second class might be referred to them ; if there are not, probably some should be left to the poor-law, some in districts where this class already congregate, only assisted in the same way as members of class three. Much would aggravate the difficulty. They give additional attractions turn upon the family and the home. The first class should be left to a vagrant and casual life, and make it more endurable. to the poor-law. If there is no poor-law system at work they They afso make a comfortable avoidance of the responsishould be put on public works. Working men of independent position, not the creatures of any political club, but such as are bilities of family life comparatively easy, and, in so far as respected members of a friendly society or are otherwise well they do this, they are clearly injurious to the community. qualified for the task, should be called into consultation. The The English colonists of the New England states and relief should be settled according to the requirements of each case, Pennsylvania introduced the disciplinary religious and but, if the pressure is great, at first at least it may be necessary to make grants according to some generally sufficient scale. There relief system of Protestantism and the Eliza- ... . should be as constant a revision of cases as time permits. Great bethan poor-law. To the former reference has of care should be taken to stop the relief as soon as possible, and to already been made. With an appreciation of America. do nothing to make it the stepping-stone to permanent dependence. the fact that the cause of distress is not usually, As an alternative to relief, employment on public works is often suggested. It must be remembered, however, that where poverty, but weakness of character and want of judgment, there is distress nothing should be done to prevent the migration and that relief is in itself no remedy, those who have of the workman, nothing to attract unsettleci labour or agiancy inherited the old Puritan traditions have, in the light of to the town. Employment, artificially provided, may cause as toleration and a larger social experience, organized the many difficulties as relief. If resort must be had to it, it should be work within the skill of all ; it should be fairly remunerated, so method of friendly visiting, the object of which is illusthat at least the scantiness of the pay may not be an excuse for trated by the motto “Not alms, but a friend.” To the neglect ; and it should be paid for according to measured or piece friendship of charity is thus given a disciplinary, force, work. The discipline should be strict, though due regard should capable of immense expansion and usefulness, if the R. paid at first to those unaccustomed to digging or earthwork. In England and Wales the guardians have power to open labour friendship on the side of those who would help is sincere yards These, like charities which provide work, tend to attract and guided by practical knowledge and sagacity, and if on an l keep in employment a low class of labourer or workman, who the side of those in distress there is awakened a reciprocal finis it pays him to use the institution as a convenience. ■ It is regard and a willingness to change their way of life by best, therefore, to avoid the opening of a labour yard, if possible.