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Some of the
Intemperance, want of practicability and unthrift,
Intemperance, indolence and improvidence,
answers included other causes, such as lack of employment or ignorance of a trade, but the above are the principal ones indicated. In those cities where no percentage of the
an assertion that it was very formidable.
REGISTERING THE POOR.
two a pretty accurate registration of the poor, but in the large In smaller cities it is comparatively easy to acquire in a year or dividing a city into districts seems to be a necessary preliminary cities this has been found very difficult indeed. The system of to the work of effective registration. The usefulness of registra tion is easily apparent, and nearly every organization expresses its desire to accomplish the task. Where such a thing has already been undertaken almost the first step toward the investigation of the case of an applicant is to examine the register and see if that what was done for him on the previous application. In some cities, applicant has before applied for relief, and if so in what ward and notably in Buffalo, the police of the city were serviceable in proinviting the citizens to write the addresses of such poor persons curing the preliminary registration. Cards were left at every house their ward as they were acquainted with, and these cards were
information thus obtained. In Philadelphia they have followed the plan of the London Society, and have a thorough set of regis tration books. Each district has a book of its own, and duplicates of the reports of all cases investigated are sent to the central office, where the general register is maintained. In Cleveland they have, in addition to the usual books, a record of all the per sons convicted of crime. In Boston there is a registration office where all reports of relief are kept on cards alphabetically ar ranged, and of which they have on file now more than twenty thousand. There is no publicity about this work, and the cards are strictly limited in their use to the detection of imposture or the aid of a family. In nearly all the foreign cities the London system of registration has been followed.
the poor which has been instituted by the organization of charities. In New Haven they have mothers' meetings for instruction in the cutting out and mending of clothes, and a children's school where instruction is given in sewing and housework. In Newport they have inaugurated a savings society for the poor; in Poughkeepsie a kitchen garden; and in Portland a workroom for women, where sewing is paid for in groceries and provisions. In Cleveland they are establishing day nurseries in various parts of the city. Indianapolis has a "Friendly Inn" for tramps and transients, and a laundry to give employment to poor women is about starting. The Springfield organization has established a children's aid society, and a fruit and flower mission. In Boston several industrial training departments have been instituted, and they are trying the Newport plan of a summer savings society. Buffalo has a model créche; Detroit has day nurseries; and Philadelphia has launched upon a flood of experiments intended to benefit the poor, such as savings for fuel, coöperative stores, cooking schools, kindergartens, kitchen gardens and so on.
Several of the organizations sent to the committee interesting reports upon their work among the children of the poor, as the surest preventive of the increase of pauperism.
COST OF ORGANIZATION.
The following table will show that the cost of the administration of the several societies last year was commendably small. The amounts indicate expenses merely, and do not include any relief furnished :
Cost Last Year. $1,358 00
The replies received by the committee conclude with remarks upon the distinguishing features of each organization and an expression from each of entire confidence in the success of this modern method of opposing pauperism. The Brooklyn organization reports that it has hitherto not attempted more than to act as a clearing house for other charities, but thinks it will now be necessary to adopt the district organization and the broader work. From Poughkeepsie comes the motto, "Not alms, but a friend,” and they say their unsolved problem is employment for the poor. In Cleveland they are making war upon the money lenders, who are robbing the poor. They have just compelled one to accept the interest of eight per cent. per annum instead of forty-eight per cent. in the writings. From Boston comes, in the language of their president, Robert Treat Paine, this appeal :-"Whenever any family has fallen so low as to need relief, send to them at least one friend, a patient, true, sympathizing, firm friend, to do for them all that a friend can do to discover and remove the causes of their dependence, and to help them up into independent selfsupport and self-respect."
In further continuance of the Committee's Report, Mr. PAINE and Mrs. FIELDS, of Boston, and Mr. BARBOUR, of Detroit, spoke as follows:
ROBERT TREAT PAINE, Jr.: It gives me pleasure, as President of the Associated Charities of Boston, to say a few words, and first to extend an invitation to our friends to visit the offices of our Society in the Charity Building on Chardon street, which welcomes under its roof all the charities, private and public, of any importance in the city, giving them free offices and every convenience, and thus facilitating their whole system of interchange and coöperation. Our own office is in room 41, and, to be perfectly frank, we think it is excellently organized, and working admirably. At any rate it is there to speak for itself. The lady in charge, Miss Smith, and her assistants, will be ready to answer any questions and to show the workings of our whole system. It may be called a clearing-house of information. We have in the same building the ward offices of neighboring wards, also open to visitors. You will see how we conduct our local work, and our system of gathering information and of registering and communicating it when collected.
I happen also, Mr. President, to have an invitation from the physicians of the Massachusetts General Hospital, which is our
largest private charitable hospital, giving a cordial welcome to the Conference to visit that institution.
I have also an invitation from one of the gentlemen connected with the Home you have spoken of, conducted by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic institution on Dudley street, which they think, and we all agree, is excellently managed, taking tender care of the aged of both sexes.
Let me here say with what pleasure I have glanced at the report which the New York Herald of Sunday has given of the work of our Committee. I venture to say "our" because my name appears on it. The whole credit is due to Dr. Cadwalader, who has prepared the questions and gathered the information. If anything can strengthen our charity organizations it must be the facts collected in this admirable way, showing how in all the Anglo-Saxon world great cities are organizing themselves for a thorough system of charity work, to be content with nothing less than the best results. Mr. Chairman, in the midst of this great "boom" of prosperity in all directions, business, railroads, enterprises of all kinds, and after the report we heard from you yesterday even of insanity, charity is entitled to its "boom."
It may be well to pause and study the great characteristics of this uprising of the people in charity which we see everywhere. It seems to me there are three. I should say the corner-stone of the whole was a thoroughly scientific coöperation of all charitable agencies, public and private charities, churches, and, what is omitted on the printed programme, of the whole mass of the people. The second characteristic is that the whole field and scope of charitable work are growing wider. We are not content with the work as it was. Relief alone is utterly insufficient. The third is that all charitable work is being filled with a larger spirit of personal devotion. Let me first say a word about the second characteristic. It seems to me a matter of the greatest importance that we should carefully study in what way we can best help towards a permanent restoration of families who seem to be going downward. I know of no greater and more valuable contribution that can be made to scientific charity than a practical treatise, giving practical methods, in their actual operation and with the results-the methods by which poor families or struggling families in all their various phases can be really and permanently helped. I hope some of our Philadelphia friends will take that matter in charge, and gather up their experience which they are publishing so admirably in their Monthly Register, and will give us this treatise which will put our work on a broad, scientific foundation. I cannot describe coöperation until I speak of the third characteristic, that is the personal element. For charity, without real charity, is utterly dead, or, as the scripture says, it is like sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. We are welcoming into this work a great number of workers. The report shows how
large these numbers are in many cities. If they went into the work unguided, subject to no rules, following in each case the spontaneous impulse of the moment, they might do great harm, as professional experts and timid persons prophesied would be the case in Boston. But if they are willing, as we have found they are, to submit to carefully prepared rules prohibiting them from giving relief, except in extreme cases (the relief of relieving agencies, of course, continuing), we think the evil can be avoided, and the utmost good can be brought about. We believe in the great truth that the rich and the poor, the whole rich class and the whole poor class, are in deep and permanent relation to each other; and that the rich, if they do not know, are bound to study and learn how to make their charity helpful, and how to avoid the evils of giving.
To take up now my own topic, the matter of coöperation; we find the field of charity work has become so very wide that the need of coöperation is urgent. In your report yesterday, Mr. Chairman, you stated, I believe, that the number of tramps had been reduced one-half, partly owing to increased prosperity, and partly to a wiser system. As you made that remark, a lady near me, and filled with the right spirit, said, “ Why not stop them wholly? It is in that spirit that we must take hold of this work, never to be content with partial gains; not to lessen the system, but to render it more earnest, so that tramps shall not again appear in dull times; so that the evil of tramping shall be utterly eradicated, as physicians aim to eradicate, and claim that they have eradicated, certain diseases. We wish to make it sure that not one child grows up a pauper. We must make our system as thorough as that and be content with nothing less. We must make sure that all who have fallen into distress and are willing to work, shall be wisely helped to regain self-support, and that those who are involuntarily iu need of support shall be promptly and tenderly relieved. We must make sure that all the means of education and of support are improved to the uttermost degree. All this can be done only by a system of coöperation that shall aim at five things: I. We must have, first, a coöperation of knowledge, so that when any agent, visitor or society learns any fact about any poor family, that knowledge shall be preserved for the common good and use of all, who shall work together for that family then or thereafter. With us, this is done by our registration bureau.
II. Coöperation of counsel. In the hard cases, it will not do for one society to adopt one course, another society another course, a third a third, and so on. There must be coöperation of counsel, that the best possible decision may be reached and adhered to.
III. Coöperation of action in the simpler cases, where it is sufficient for some one society, church, visitor or friend to take charge of the case, and do all that is necessary to be done.
IV. Coöperation in abstaining from interfering with the work which that friend, church, visitor or society shall do, after the case