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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/515

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"SCIENTIFIC CHARITY."

read and write, that 49 others could read but not write, and that only 339, or twenty-four per cent, were wholly illiterate.

It will be seen from the foregoing examples that the field of investigation upon which the charity organizationists have entered is a large and important one. A good deal might be said in the way of criticism, especially of the analysis of the causes of poverty, but it is rather the purpose of this paper to describe than to criticise. The facts it is aimed to accumulate are of a character that could not be got by public officials without very great expense, since they take account of the cases of many dependants whose names never appear on the records of public poor-relief. Besides the statistics, which all the societies will work together to accumulate, different societies have undertaken elaborate special investigations into the heredity of pauperism and similar topics. Oscar C. McCulloch, at the last National Conference, read a paper entitled "The Children of Ishmael: a Study in Social Degradation," which was based upon such an investigation made by the society in Indianapolis. It gave the hideous story of thirty interrelated families, embracing two hundred and seventy persons, nearly all of whom belong to the pauper and criminal classes, as did their ancestors before them. The study resembles that which Dugdale made of the Juke family, by which it was suggested; but it embraces a larger number of families formerly distinct.

The workers in the new charity are active propagandists. They insist continually upon the evils of indiscriminate giving. They assail the public authorities with facts and figures, and the churches with biblical quotations. They assure the latter that bread indiscriminately given is cast not "upon the waters," but into the bottomless pit—that it is "the bread by which men die." They establish in each city an office to serve as a clearing-house of charities, and so endeavor to prevent the overlapping of the relief given by different agencies. Their general view of the situation enables them to devise new and needed forms of benevolence, and to ascertain what additional legislation can be really helpful.

It is very satisfactory when the conclusions of one set of thinkers coincide with the conclusions of others who have approached the same subject from a different standpoint. When, therefore, the philanthropist, trying to think and work in accordance with the principles of enlightened self-sacrifice, finds himself agreeing in theory and practice with the economist whose guiding star has been "enlightened self-interest," there is reason to congratulate them both. In speaking in this manner, we of course ignore the philosophical subtlety by which it is said to be proved that all our actions must necessarily have their origin in motives of self-interest. Assuming the proof of this to be perfect, it is yet to be said that the different forms in which self-interest manifests itself