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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/78

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

preparing to lead lives devoted to altruistic work, and that it was therefore desirable, in the case of young men apparently without means, to pay their expenses in theological schools, but it worked so badly that the plan is undergoing change. In the best schools where funds are provided, they are now loaned, and a written obligation to repay is executed. In other words, the managers of schools of divinity found out that to give to the poor theological student was to lend to the devil—a very different creditor from the one they had in mind! It was found that this money got used at times for tobacco, for pleasure-trips, etc., while board-bills were unpaid, and that after it was spent the beneficiaries sometimes abandoned the life-work they had contemplated.[1] But even the loan system is not working satisfactorily. The written obligation is often lightly esteemed, and held to be not binding. The writer's latest information is that but thirty per cent is paid back. Only when the notes are looked after, as a successful banker looks after his paper, will the system become truly beneficent. It will then have ceased to be a charity. Again let it be said, do not give something for nothing, but, if you really must do so, then put it into a lottery.

VI. Gifts to Workingmen.—There is reserved for the last a notice of the most contemptible form of altruism now known to civilization. It has come to be the fashion for people who have acquired money without giving an equivalent in labor and who wish to indulge in benevolence, to build mission-chapels in outskirts of cities, and to furnish them with cheap appliances in order to "save the souls" of the dear working-classes. Another form this takes is in furnishing workingmen libraries and reading-rooms, and even in building improved tenement-houses. In a score of ways the rich are "doing something for the poor." Now, all these things have the same surface appearance of charity as throwing a dime to a beggar. But the fact is, that these people have by class legislation or dishonesty got possession of wealth created by the poor, and in order to quiet their little consciences, or occasionally in order to enable them to keep up the fraud, they dispense these charities.

Now, let it be reported to all such that the workingmen need none of their charities. They cry out for justice, for fair wages for a day's work, for reasonable rents, for a chance to buy house-lots which speculators have not pushed beyond honest men's reach—in short, for such a reorganization of legislation and custom as will enable them to labor and to administer upon the entire fruits of their labor, to build and furnish their own chapels if they

  1. There has been in government employ in Washington, the past eight years, a young man who received such aid for two years previously. He now owns real estate in Washington, but he never preaches.