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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/512

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cent pieces. Provided with these, go to any crowded thoroughfare, and give them out to the children or others that ask for help—perhaps under pretense of peddling. Notice how the number of askers multiplies—how older children and better-dressed children take part in the asking—and you will realize that, if your pocket were big enough, you could pauperize half the city. The same experiment may be tried by simply giving a little money to each one that chooses to ring your door-bell and ask for it. It may almost be considered fortunate that a great nation was so unfortunate as to try just such experiments on a gigantic scale. Walker thus summarizes the influence of English outdoor poor relief while the Gilbert Act was in force: "The disposition to labor was cut up by the roots; all restraints upon an increase of population disappeared under a premium upon births; self-respect and social decency vanished before a money-premium on bastardy." Cities in our own country—notably Brooklyn and Philadelphia—have found that, when public outdoor relief, given prodigally for a long series of years, was cut short off, the number of indoor poor actually decreased, as also the demands upon the private charities of the cities, and this in the face of an increasing population.

It is characteristic of the new or scientific charity as opposed to purely emotional philanthropy that it regards poverty as an evil to be assailed in its causes. It does not merely pity poverty, but studies it. It believes that a doctor might as well give pills without a diagnosis, as a benevolent man give alms without an investigation. It insists that "hell is paved with good intentions," and that the philanthropist must be careful as well as kindly.

Mr. Smiley, in his recent article in "The Popular Science Monthly" on "Altruism economically considered," says but little of this more rational phase of charitable work. The evils he condemns are very evil, but others are attacking them as vigorously as himself, and possibly along lines of greater strategic advantage. To prosecute existing charitable methods at the bar of true charity is apt to have more practical results than to arraign the same culprits at the bar of political economy.

Most of the workers in the new charity in this country have entered more or less fully into the movement for what is known as "charity organization." Speaking broadly, the purpose of this movement is to make the benevolent work of our large cities more systematic and more intelligent. The plans of those interested in the movement are already sufficiently well realized, so that each year they seek out, analyze, classify, and record a vast number of facts regarding the poor and poor-relief in the principal cities of the country. An examination of some of the statis-