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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/74

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2. That it discourages habits of frugality.
3. That it encourages improvident and wretched marriages.
4. That it produces discontent.

His own conclusion as to what he had himself seen was that "out-door relief in the United States as elsewhere tends inevitably and surely to increase pauperism." Here are some of his statistics:

In Brooklyn, during 1877, 46,350 people were relieved at a cost of $141,207. In 1878 no money was given. This immense number of people which had received aid were left to take care of themselves, or to go to almshouse or to hospital. What effect on these institutions did refusing to give to 46,350 people have? In 1877 and 1878 these institutions contained 1,371 people; in 1879, 1,389 people; in 1880, 1,199, and in 1881 only 1,171. What became of the people that had received the $141,207, in a single year? Mr. Seth Low says: "Instead of Brooklyn needing, as the result of the abolition of out-door relief, an almshouse of mammoth proportions, we find at the end of three years an almost imperceptible increase of sick paupers, but a steady diminution of well paupers; and this, too, in the face of a population in the county growing at the rate of 18,000 per annum." At about the same time similar action was taken in Philadelphia, with like results. Cleveland's out-door relief account for six years was as follows:

1875 to 4,590 families $95,000. 1878 to 1,568 families $32,300.
1876 to 3,094"85,000. 1879 to 1,550"22,600.
1877 to 2,386"70,000. 1880 to 1,200"17,000.

In March, 1877, was begun a system of requiring an equivalent for the relief furnished. Work at one dollar per day was provided every man who being able-bodied applied for assistance. The officials were thoroughly convinced that pauperism had been fostered and increased by the old system.

Cincinnati pursued the same course, with good results, except that it issued during ten winter weeks coal by the bushel; but even that was improvident and demoralizing. People who know that a city issued coal last winter will count on getting it this winter, and will take no other thought on the subject.

Now we know, by experiment, that the wise thing to do is to visit all such people in July and August, and induce them to lay by a few cents a week for winter's coal, promising it to them at lower prices. If, thus reminded to provide for winter, they are less sensible than the squirrel, they must in all fairness to themselves be allowed to suffer discomfiture in winter and be taught by bitter experience. He who gives to the poor under such circumstances may be very benevolent at heart, but his influence is worse than that of a miser who refrains from giving.